As reported in last week’s issue, Wells Gray Community Forest recently hosted an informative tour of some of its operations.
That tour left us more convinced than ever that having the community forest take over the logging being proposed and carried out by Canfor and BC Timber Sales in the Upper Clearwater corridor might be the best possible compromise solution to the ongoing dispute there.
Any logging would, of course, have to be contingent on there being satisfactory hydrogeological results. Parts of the areas in question have steep slopes, unstable soils and a history of flash floods and washouts.
Possibly some parts could not be safely logged, no matter who did it.
That being said, however, community forests have historically often been allocated contentious areas to grow and harvest wood.
Not all disputes cannot be avoided, of course. However, it seems that most people are a good deal more tolerant of community forests, knowing that the proceeds are going to go to worthy local causes, such as schools, than they are of large corporations.
Wells Gray Community Forest is developing a reputation as one of the best run and most profitable in the province.
Since starting operations in 2006, the community forest has pumped about $550,000 into local schools, organizations and other worthy causes.
With an annual allowable cut of just 33,000 cubic meters, however, it is still smaller than it should be.
An AAC of 50,000 cubic meters would make it much more viable in the longterm.
Money earned from logging in the Upper Clearwater could be earmarked for projects that relate to the Upper Clearwater – for example, trail building and caribou research.
As with most compromises, nobody would get everything he or she wants. However, this community would be far better off than if it allows itself to become divided over such a sensitive issue.
Retraction and apology
A letter to the editor from Jim Lamberton titled “Lamberton replies to two of his critics” in our Oct. 2 issue contained the following paragraph:
“I don’t know if you noticed that in the Aug. 28 Times paper, on page A 17, there was a “Notice of Woodlot Licence Plan, Woodlot 1857 – Upper Clearwater” in the name of George Briggs. The plan’s map includes basically all the Upper Clearwater corridor with the exception of some sensitive areas, deeded land, and current licences. What’s up with that?”
This paragraph is misleading and inaccurate. George Briggs is one of those who have been opposing proposed logging in the Upper Clearwater corridor and the paragraph implies that he is doing it to obtain land for a woodlot. In fact, Briggs has owned the woodlot for many years and it does not include any of the land involved in the logging dispute.
We apologize to Mr. Briggs for including the paragraph in the published letter.