(See my own photos of Flores Island here to get an idea of why I’m so concerned about the logging of this amazing place. My travelogue from our trip there in 2009 can be found here).
Dear Minister of Natural Resource Operations, Minister of Forests, Mines and Lands, and President & CEO of the Integrated Land Management Bureau, Steve Carr:
I am writing to you today to express my alarm at the potential for logging on Flores Island, a significant tract of intact old-growth in the province of British Columbia. At 150 square kilometres, this large area of temperate rainforest is home to an incredible bounty of animal and plant life in addition to providing unparalled outdoor recreation opportunities for hikers and kayakers along its west coast beaches. Flores Island is indeed one of the most popular attractions in Clayoquot Sound because of the striking beauty and peace to be found there amonst some of the oldest trees left standing in the province.
At issue specifically today is whether or not to approve helicopter drop-zones which would facilitate heli-logging of the island. Heli-logging is an extremely energy-intensive form of logging that is not financially feasible without drop zones approved nearby. In this case, the drop zones are slated for the near-shore waters of Flores Island (Millar Channel specifically). Not only does this pose the issue of potential habitat destruction in the marine environment, it is hard to imaging how this could be considered safe given the number of kayakers, pleasure-boaters, fishing boats, water taxis and others who use these waters on a daily basis. Flores Island is additionally known for Gray Whale sighting opportunities because there are a large number of resident and transient marine mammals in the area – dropping logs into the water in marine mammal territory will certainly lead to animal deaths in large numbers over time. Many of these species are listed as species at risk and are federally protected under the Species at Risk Act.
Should the heli-logging plan be denied, there will no doubt be permits requested for road-building on the island – which carries with it a whole other set of issues for land-based species and the salmon which spawn in rivers and creeks on the island. Although the company that has requested the permits considers itself sustainable – it is anything but – cutting in old-growth areas, selling raw logs offshore at well-below value that would come from secondary processing, and now attempting to break with their public commitment to leave intact areas of Clayoquot Sound unmolested.
I am writing to urge the forest managers and government bodies responsible to deny these oceanic drop zone permits, and any road or cut permits requested for Flores Island and any of Clayoquot Sound’s intact areas. I also urge the province to work with local First Nations towards ecologically-sustainable solutions for generating income in the area, including support for secondary processing which would increase wood-value into the community immensely. As the world’s resources dwindle, we are urgently required to find more sustainable solutions together.
Thank-you for considering this letter,
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