McLaughlin Ridge, formerly a popular
forested area for hikers, and a home for wildlife
Not technically a clearcut because
of the few remaining trees-
the "wildlife corridor", perhaps?
[photo by T.J. Watt]
Green glen, treed cathedral,
reverent ancient cedar world
there through antiquity
until, in only half a century,
we gobbled you up,
pulped you into toilet paper and phone books,
chipped you into sawdust,
loaded you onto ships
or trucked you away.
Now, no more trails,
no more beds for slumbering deer,
no more hideaway for wintering bears.
The wolves grow thin.
As your woodland creatures are flushed,
dazed and hungry, down your slopes,
onto "our" roads and into "our" yards,
their distress only increases:
terrorized and hit by speeding cars,
shot for "intruding" into "our" space.
So unfair when we have so savagely intruded
No asking for permission,
no thought to your - or our - survival,
when we are left living on a moonscape,
rainforest turned thirsty desert,
we will begin to feel
what you feel , now, at the disappearance
of all you held most dear.
In the Vancouver Sun yesterday, via Facebook, I came across the startling information that not only does Island Timberlands own large tracts of Port Alberni's surrounding forest, it also "owns" our area's watershed!!! And while, as a rainforest, we normally receive 8.9 metres (not inches, metres) of rainfall a year, we are expected to run short of water this year by June. Last year we ran short in August. Our aquefier water level this spring is the lowest in 30 years.
Two main causes: one, the minimal amount of snowpack on the mountains here this winter, due to global warming, so the recharging of domestic water supply is impacted. Second, as the article by Stephen Hume explains, is the effect of clearcutting around and above the watershed. Conclusions reached by many experts and expressed by our MLA Scott Fraser is that cutblocks above our water source should never have been logged, and that Port Alberni should own its own watershed.
250,000 hectares of forest, 75,000 of which surround our town, all formerly Crown land, were ceded as private forest to Island Timberlands by the provincial government. Thus no logging restrictions or standards apply.
Meanwhile logging has accelerated, since the price of timber is up. 60 percent of our old growth has been logged. The article states Port Alberni can "kiss its water quality goodbye" if logging of old growth on the steep slopes above the water system continues. As it will. Such lack of foresight is mind-boggling. A wanton disregard for the continuation of life, monetary profit being the deciding factor. Profit for a few at the expense of the many.