Seeking the best for Wells Gray gateway

Neither the Upper Clearwater Action Committee nor the Wells Gray World Heritage Committee is calling for no logging

Editor, The Times

In a recent letter to The Times, registered professional forester Wes Bieber urges the residents of Upper Clearwater to trust to normal protocol regarding Canfor’s stated intention to log our valley. To do otherwise, he suggests, is to divide our community – a rather odd assertion in light of the unanimity achieved on this issue at a public information meeting in Upper Clearwater earlier this summer.

For the record, neither the Upper Clearwater Action Committee nor the Wells Gray World Heritage Committee is calling for no logging. What we are calling for is a moratorium on logging until the question of how best to manage the main portal area to one of Canada’s grandest, most iconic wilderness parks can be reviewed by a full range of stakeholders on equal footing.

In this one instance, we feel that the implications of industrial-scale logging are too far-reaching to entrust to any business-as-usual protocol. Given that decisions made today will, for example, likely shape the status of Clearwater as gateway to Wells Gray, it behooves the B.C. government to chart the way ahead very carefully.

We do not dispute that the forests in question lie within Canfor’s cutting area. Even so, the forester responsible for this proposal is well aware – and has publicly acknowledged – that this same area is also subject to a prior agreement between the Ministry of Forests and residents of Upper Clearwater. We believe that according to the terms of this agreement, no major logging is to be undertaken in our valley. This being the case, it seems reasonable to ask whether Canfor really has any business pursuing industrial-scale logging here at this time.

Canfor’s president and CEO lately assured the people of British Columbia that Canfor “… will not support actions that overturn landscape objectives set through public planning processes unless there is full public consultation and support” (Vancouver Sun, 16 July 2012). Naturally we are inclined to see the Upper Clearwater issue as a test case for the substance of Canfor’s stated commitment to its social contract.

We thank Mr. Bieber for presenting what he apparently sees as the best and highest use of our valley from the perspective of the forest industry. As the question of how to handle the portal to Wells Gray now moves onto the larger provincial and national stage, it is to be hoped that he will welcome other perspectives on this issue as well.

Wilderness is a commodity whose value can only increase with passage of time. In the final analysis, our call to MLA Terry Lake for a moratorium on logging in Upper Clearwater is simply a request that one of Canada’s grandest, most iconic wilderness preserves be permitted to fulfill its full ecological and economic services to society: http://www.wellsgrayworldheritage.ca/

Trevor Goward for the Wells Gray World Heritage Committee

 

Steve Murray for the Upper Clearwater Action Committee

 

 

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