Wells Gray corridor logging needs more public review

I am adding my voice to the call for a moratorium on logging in the Wells Gray Park corridor

Editor, The Times:

I am adding my voice to the call for a moratorium on logging in the Wells Gray Park corridor until social, economic, and environmental values have been addressed in an open, all-stakeholder process.

I have been blessed to call Clearwater home for my entire life. My Dad came here in 1959 to work for Frank Capostinsky as a faller and cat skinner (bulldozer operator) so it was logging that supported us growing up. In ways it still supports the four of five sisters that stayed and raised our families here.

Logging plays an important role in our community and will continue to do so. But times are changing and, as the trees go the way of the cod fish and the timber supply runs out, we seek sustainable practices that include other values for economic stability. Or we face own “Make and Break Harbor,” as the Stan Roger’s song goes.

Last year tourism brought Clearwater close to $20 million. That could continue for each year in perpetuity, especially if we achieve GeoPark status for Wells Gray.

A forest, once cut, is gone for our lifetimes. Not to ignore the fact that an old growth forest stores carbon and helps maintain the climate we need for life on Earth. I think that is a value worth preserving for our grandchildren.

Logging the entrance to Wells Gray Park would ruin the most stunning road-accessible viewscapes in the area. It would distance Clearwater from the Wells Gray experience. It would take away opportunities for future generations to make a living here in a diversified economy that values our number one attractions – wilderness, wildlife, clean water and fresh air.

If Canfor succeeds in severing Clearwater’s wilderness link to Wells Gray, then tourist and other businesses will likely follow the untouched wilderness experience and relocate in Upper Clearwater, effectively transforming it into the ‘gateway to the park’. Clearwater will be some gas stations, a grocery store, an infocentre and a roundabout sign pointing north to the ‘new’ gateway to the park: Upper Clearwater.

Clearwater loses its focus and Upper Clearwater loses its lifestyle. Nobody wins.

With no roots on the steep slopes above the Clearwater Valley road to stabilize the banks, the soil all washes downstream, causing stress and strain and destroying people’s water source. And it may be even worse considering recent mud slides elsewhere in B.C.

The year we moved to the upper valley to build our home was the year the high slopes just below the Trophies was logged (the clearcut known as Big Bertha came later). Dad, who was road foreman for Clearwater Timber Products and had 30+ years in the logging world, sat at my table with a direct view of those north slopes and said it was wrong. It took hundreds of years to grow. Logging it was mining it.

He was right. Thirty-two years later that upper block still has no visible regeneration on it. I think of his words every time I look at it.

Please, no logging in the Upper Clearwater Valley until such a time as the effects on community values, wildlife, and tourism have been fully addressed for the wide range of stakeholders.

Sharon Neufeld

Upper Clearwater, B.C.

 

Cc: Don Kayne, president and CEO Canfor