In the Nov. 3 editorial, “Paths of rational resistance,” John Gleeson was referring to news that the Community Forest (SCCF) was set to resume logging in the contentious Wilson Watershed.
His plea was to find a rational solution to a pending crisis where no one wins. If an editorial represents the “spirit of the community,” then his words and suggestions should be thoughtfully considered. ELF agrees that a solution must be found to create a shared path – however, that requires compromise.
Rational forestry planning calls for following provincial higher-level directives. In 2004, the provincial government issued an “order” calling on Forest Districts and Ministry of Environment biologists to cooperate in mapping winter ranges for a variety of large mammals, including elk. Elk are blue-listed species on the endangered list and they required specific forest conditions to shelter in during severe winter conditions to maintain thermal balance or else a population can die off, which has been documented. Vancouver Island and the Kootenays districts followed the order and established what are called Ungulate Winter Ranges (UWR).
For the past 13 years the Sunshine Coast Forest District has not cooperated with local ministry biologists to undertake this task, resulting in potential elk range being lost to logging.
A rational planning approach would dictate that the Forest District not approve further cutblocks until elk winter ranges are mapped, respecting the precautionary principle until all evidence is gathered. To that end, the proper and professional path is to defer Wilson cutblocks EW28 and EW23 until MOE biologists can conduct field studies and present a UWR package to the province. The province will then be able to consider the mapped UWRs and finally approve areas, giving certainty to obtaining a sustainable elk population. .
We firmly believe that this approach meets the spirit of the Coast Reporter’s editorial, finding a rational response to the issue while being environmentally responsible. We request that key decision-makers come together, support it, and end up with a plan we can all be proud of.
Ross Muirhead, Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF)