This paper reported on plans by Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF), to conduct research within the proposed Mt. Elphinstone Park expansion area in block EW19, directly adjacent to one of its three disconnected park parcels that currently total only 139ha. SCCF is claiming that the Ministry of Forests is forcing them to conduct a “Mother Tree” research project that involves cutting 50 per cent of the stand in EW19. Though such research may have merits, we ask it not take place within the park proposal area, the lower Coast’s last and best chance for at least one substantial size, lower elevation protected area.
Prominent biologist Wayne McCrory calls the current park “islands of extinction” in his 2015 conservation review, concluding they were too small to conserve the park’s biodiversity and should be connected into a single core conservation zone of 2,137ha. Additionally, much of EW19 is mapped as Old Growth Recruitment Forest by the province’s Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) to address the old growth deficit in highly depleted areas like this. SCCF does not acknowledge TAP’s recruitment mapping. This cutblock is also in the hydrologically damaged Wilson Creek watershed, now prone to frequent floods and escalating droughts due in large part to excessive clearcutting threatening downstream farms. Twice elected hereditary shíshálh Nation Chief hiwus Calvin Craigan, has called for a 100-year logging moratorium in the ts’ukw’um (Wilson Creek) watershed to give it a chance to recover biologically and hydrologically.
ELF considers it acceptable they study this mature native forest only to learn more about how it recovered from the 1860’s wildfire, what is referred to as an “uncut plot.” By not logging it, they would be respecting the will of the community reflected in the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan, and expressed in SCRD Bylaw 641, to conserve the park proposal area. As hiwus Craigan has stated “Our forests have already been studied to death, it’s time to rebuild and restore.”
Ross Muirhead, Elphinstone Logging Focus