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  • (2023-11-10) Letter to BC Timber Sales regarding its proposed logging on Maurelle Island (Claudia Lake)

    Claudia Lake

    The following comments were posted on BC Timber Sales online form:

    1. Re: Cutblock 3300 MAUR 004 Polygon B

    The part of this block below the road and along the lake shore has had a large amount of blowdown immediately following the road building and cutting that occurred previously, within the past 10 years....there is not much left to log in this part of the block;  any more falling will result in the riparian buffer being completely destroyed. This un-named lake is a rich, riparian haven, despite the wind throw after last falling took place. It is full of trout, stickleback, freshwater mussels, frogs, toads, and visited by many species of large and small mammal, as well as birds of many species, and is also rich in aquatic plant species. It provides nesting habitat for many species, including several species of owl, woodpeckers, eagles, kingfishers and multiple song birds. It is also a recreational destination for people in the area, and has been for many decades....there is a year round stream that crosses this proposed block, coming from the height of land above the road, and entering the lake within the area marked as a proposed cut block, below the road. It is the main inflow for the lake! The riparian strip between the road and the lake shore should be protected! For that matter, the area above the road should also be left intact as it is the source of water, the drainage i.e. watershed for this lake! Please leave it alone. 


    2. Cutblock 3298 MAUR003

    This entire proposed block is problematic. The area below and above the existing road, Caroline Main, proposed for cutting will severely interfere with our existing watershed and waterhole, source of our domestic water supply, which have been in existence since 1981. It will also destroy the last remaining part of the old corduroy road and main trail that gives access to the lake above, part of a network of trails on public land that have been in place since the early part of the last century. In an area, (i.e. the Lower Okisollo Channel), where three large marine and lake system parks are interconnected and provide a huge resource for the province of BC. This area is a destination for visitors, local as well as from around the world....this goes far beyond VQO's. The province of BC has made significant investments over the past few years to create this large and important area of parkland, and the past and proposed activities of BCTS are a threat to the visitors and commercial operators in and of the area. That's just the watershed and the trails, not to mention the VQOs. 

    Clearcutting on both sides of the existing road in this proposed block will seriously affect the VQOs of the Lower Okisollo Channel. This is the part of Maurelle Island that has, for some unexplained reason, had the VQOs DOWNGRADED!! Why? No one has yet been able to answer this question. This is the vital area (not so much Hole in the Wall, which is mainly a transportation route) not such a vital, and international and beautiful tourism destination as the rest of the Okisollo Channel! 

    Furthermore, the part of this proposed cut block that lies above the existing road, Caroline Main, is the site of a virtually pristeen cedar swamp, a pristeen watershed, and the source of water for the riparian reserve below, along and inland from the sea shore, recently marked by new flagging. A good creek runs down from this cedar swamp. We have an exisiting domestic waterline that begins at a point above the road, at the top of the waterfall there and runs to our dwelling near the shoreline. If our water supply is destroyed by logging activity, how will we be compensated? Is BCTS going to come and drill a new well for us? We need this source of water for our home. The last logging that took place caused such bad erosion that our drinking waterhole, lower down the hill, was completely washed out; we had to rebuild it! The bay in front of our home, which is also part of the Okisollo Channel Rock Fish Conservation Area, was filled with mud (it looked like chocolate milk) after the last round of falling took place. Nothing was done by the contractor to mitigate the problem. It was horrendous and cost us a lot of time, effort and money. 

    The access roads proposed within this cut block will be seen from the Okisollo Channel, they will severely compromise the watershed on this hillside, and appear to be planned so as to further dissect the wildlife corridor that currently exists, barely, since the last round of logging took place within the past 10 years or so. It is a bouldery area, covered by thick moss, road access will be difficult and blasting to build it, will destroy yet another very special riparian area. 

    I request that before cutting boundaries or road building plans are confirmed, the forest engineer assigned to these tasks, takes a walk with us around this area so that we can point out the places of concern, so that we might work together to come up with a plan that does not severely affect our domestic water supply, and the integrity of the cedar swamp and surrounding area, or the other important values of the area. I would like confirmation of my request, please, and thank you. 


    3. Cutblock 3301 MAUR 002 Polygon B

    I am less familiar with this proposed cut block and road access, but it is adjacent to a large piece of private property, which will clearly affect the residents and their interests there. It will also be detrimental to the VQO's from the Lower Okisollo Channel, as detailed in my previous comments.....these are VQOs that were agreed upon previously by the commercial tourism operator's working group and BCTS, and have since been inexplicably downgraded....this is a travesty, the downgrading of VQOs after they have been agreed upon. This discussion has been on-going for many years, and we are all getting very tired of having to constantly repeat ourselves.....it is time for BCTS to listen and pay attention to those of us, unpaid for our time and efforts, who are simply trying to protect our interests and those of other long-time users of, and visitors to, this tranquil, wilderness destination. This is not just another industrial corridor or transportation highway....it is a biologically unique and diverse wilderness area, at the mouth of one of BC's most beautiful and wild fjiords that needs to be respected by the powers that be. 


    4. Cutblock 3302 MAUR002 Polygon A

    Please see my previous comments re: Cut Block 3301 MAUR002 Polygon A. They apply to this polygon as well, though the VQO issue may be somewhat less obvious for some of the block...but the same applies re: watershed, wildlife corridors and so on.....i suggest naming Maurelle Island a biodiverse hotspot that needs to be protected and preserved....and I would like that last comment to apply to all previous comments as well...


    5. Cutblock 3299 MAUR004 Polygon A

    This proposed block is problematic as well. It seems to ignore the fact that the large creek, the outflow for the lake, exists at all....the block boundary appears to run parallel to the creek for quite a long way, and will affect this riparian area, home to beaver among every other type of large and small mammal in the area, from mice to grizzly bears, and many bird species, nesting and otherwise living here or migrating through here. We have swans on this lake at times during the year, and loons, etc.....the effect of recent previous logging on the upper portions of the lake was that after falling, a large amount of  wind throw, i.e. blow down, occurred, diminishing the already too narrow riparian strip between the clear cut and the trout bearing lake, and wasting great quantities of valuable timber that has been left to rot on the ground. Much logging debris entered the lake and was left to float around until it found the shore....it made a mess, basically. 

    The hillsides above the lake have been baking in the droughty, hot summers and washing away in the rainy times since they were stripped of their forest cover in the most recent harvesting to occur several years ago....there is little if any regeneration. Were these blocks at the top end of the lake even replanted? It doesn't look like it,  as there are a lot of hot, dry granite bluffs visible, now bare and sunbaked. The forest at the top end of the lake has been destroyed. It looks hideous, a barren wasteland. 

    I am very concerned that the same sort of thing will happen again if this proposed plan is implemented.....there needs to be an accounting of the blow down around the lake that occurred post harvest the last 2 times, and this timber needs to come out of BCTS's annual allowable cut....it fell down or was blown down shortly after the last logging took place, was not accounted for, and destroyed the riparian strip to zero in several places adjacent to the lake, which is a trout bearing lake, with its trout bearing outflow creek, also a recreational lake and part of the still, barely, remaining wildlife corridor that needs to be respected for all the other important values...

    A "walk around" here too with the engineers, prior to completion of operating plan would be a good idea, so the issues I am speaking about can be pointed out, prior to so-called development, aka destruction.


    Claudia Lake

    Maurelle Island 

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