During a recent interview, film maker Damien Gillis said “there would be a great deal of outrage” if the public knew the degree to which we subsidize logging old growth forests. These subsidies come in the form of lower stumpage fees for the remote areas where most of our surviving ancient forests still persist. Gillis also informed me this is a central issue in the United States’ softwood dispute with Canada. After the interview, I drew up a series of potentially embarrassing questions about BC’s stumpage rates.
It has been a year since the Wilderness Committee drew our attention to the planned logging of old growth trees in the central Walbran Valley. So far, the controversial heli-block 4424 has remained untouched. Since last November, Teal Jones has been logging 6 or 7 cutblocks in the more easily accessible areas south of the river. They are already clearcutting the Walbran’s thousand-year-old trees.
British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests said the first cutback the in the Walbran Valley is only 3.2 hectares large. It is to be heli-logged, not clearcut. The province is protecting over 30,300 hectares in old growth management areas in the South Island Natural Resource District. The map on the top of this page shows what they did not say, why the Walbran is important.
On September 18th BC’s Ministry of Forests gave Teal Jones approval to start logging in what is believed to be one of Canada’s most important stands of unprotected old-growth rain-forest. The Walbran Valley, on Vancouver Island, contains some of the nation’s oldest and largest red cedar and sitka spruce trees. Teal Jones has applied to log eight cutbacks. So far, they have only been permission to log a 3.2 hectare section known as Cutblock 4424. Yet when you consider the role that trees have fighting Climate Change, how does BC defend logging the Walbran?
British Columbia’s environmental community has been calling upon the provincial government to set aside plans to log in the Walbran Valley for months. The city of Victoria joined the chorus in July, passing a motion against this project. Everyone appears to have believed the Walbran was an old growth forest. Yet on September 18th, BC gave Teal Jones approval to start logging the first cutblock. Now, as the Surrey based logging company prepares to commence operations, the existence of an old growth forest grove in cutblock 4424 has been documented.