Future challenges mean we need to listen carefully

Global problems such as climate change are going to present major challenges locally

A few weeks ago your editor wrote an editorial about the Upper Clearwater logging controversy. A number of the residents of the Upper Clearwater are concerned about Canfor’s announced plans to log in the First, Second and Third canyons area. Rather than see some local residents throw themselves in front of bulldozers being driven by other local residents, we proposed a compromise solution: have Wells Gray Community Forest do the logging, rather than Canfor.

We pointed out that maybe logging wouldn’t be the end of the world and might even have some benefits, if done properly.

As witnessed by several letters to the editor, reaction from some Upper Clearwater residents has been negative. Those that opposed to logging seem to be opposed no matter who doing it. Spies tell us Canfor needs every stick of wood it can get to keep its Vavenby sawmill competitive and does not want to lose important timber rights. And we have been told that community forest does not want to get involved in something so controversial.

Otherwise, nearly everyone spoken to thinks it’s worth looking into.

In a letter to the editor last week, Upper Clearwater resident Erik Milton asked why I questioned his motives in the editorial of the previous week. The only mention of him was to ask why, if he says they only want a dialog on the situation, his response to community forest compromise option was to say that your editor must have a headache and should take two Tylenol.

In Trevor Goward’s letter of last week he wrote of the community forest compromise suggestion, “Your suggestion that we find alternative ways to log in Upper Clearwater make a mockery of our call for a broadly based public discussion – one that doesn’t focus exclusively on fiber.”

Trevor, if you are calling for a broadly based discussion, implies that people can present other points of view.

Although it didn’t directly address the community forest proposal, a letter from Susan Dalby did mention a number of points, including mountain caribou.

“Who speaks for them?” she asked.

In our June 19 editorial we pointed out that in Revelstoke, Chetwynd and elsewhere, forest companies, environmentalists and First Nations work together on active corral programs to capture pregnant female caribou and then protecting their calves until they are old enough to take care of themselves.

During last Saturday’s tour held to look at the Upper Clearwater controversy, Trevor Goward said the corral technique puts too much stress on the animals as it involves chasing them with a helicopter.

This might be true, but it appears to us that Goward’s suggestion that the forest re-growing after the 1926 fire are about to produce lichen that will provide critical winter range might involve some wishful thinking as well. The reason is climate change. – the elephant in the room that makes most of our other concerns seem trivial.

According to a map used by Ministry of Forests to develop its future forests plan for the Kamloops Timber Supply Area, by the year 2080 the bunchgrass biogeoclimatic zone, which presently is found only around Kamloops, will extend past the north end of Clearwater Lake (see the map on page A20).

The ESSF (Engelmann spruce/subalpine fir) zone in Wells Gray Park, which makes up most of the park today and which caribou rely on for lichen, would be replaced by ICH (Interior cedar/hemlock) and IDF (Interior Douglas fir).

These changes would have profound implications not just for mountain caribou, but for forest fire danger, tourism and even the survival of the North Thompson community as we know it.

Global problems such as climate change are going to present major challenges locally over the coming years.

We believe that a mixed economy, one that combines forestry, tourism, agriculture and other industries, offers our best chance of sustainability.

The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Tsilhqot’in land claim means more land use decisions will be made here in the North Thompson by Simpcw First Nation, rather than in Victoria.

What it all means is too early to tell.


What is clear, however, is that above all we need to work together, be prepared to compromise, and listen to each other.