There is a call from conservationists tonight to halt plans to log an old-growth forest near Port Renfrew. The province says ecology and aesthetics are taken into consideration when crown-owned timber is auctioned off. But critics say the damage outweighs the benefits, Kori Sidaway reports.
WATCH the CHEK News story here.
These gentle giants have stood for millennia.
But the towering trees are becoming increasingly rare.
“This is what makes Port Renfrew unique!” said TJ Watt, a campaigner with Ancient Forest Alliance.
“People will travel from across the world to see these ancient cathedrals, but once they’re gone they’re gone.”
And that’s just what’s set to happen.
One hundred and nine hectares of old growth forests, sitting on crown land on the border of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, is up for auction off to logging companies at the end of the month.
“This would result in giant clear cuts, and actually the wood volume is equivalent to about 1300 logging trucks worth of old growth,” said Watt.
Old growth forests aren’t fully protected in B.C., and activists say that’s endangering tourism in the area.
“Port Renfrew has successfully rebranded itself as the tall tree capital of Canada in recent years and they’re seeing a boom because of that,” said Watt.
“They’re adapting a more sustainable economy based in the 21st century whereas the B.C. government is trying to hold it in the past.”
It’s something places like Soule Creek Lodge, with its 270-degree views of the rainforest, agree with.
“They’re worth much more standing than lying down,” said Jon Cash who owns Soule Creek Lodge.
“Whichever private forestry company is successful in getting this bid, they’re going to have a fight.”
Both businesses and activists are calling on the government to end the auction and to stop issuing permits for old-growth forests throughout the province.
Something, the government isn’t prepared to do.
“Immediately ending logging in old-growth forests would affect over 24,000 people employed in the coastal forest sector,” said the Ministry of Forestry in a statement.
The ministry does say, however working on a new old-growth strategy, and those discussions are ongoing with stakeholders.
The auction for the land ends on April 27th.
See the original story here.