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  • (2023-11-10) Letter to BC Timber Sales regarding proposed logging on Maurelle Island (Lannie Keller)

    Lannie Keller

    BC Ministry of Forests

    BC Timber Sales Provincial Operations - Chinook

    Attention Theresa Cleroux, Planning Forester


    RE: Maurelle Island Logging Plans 2023-2027


    Hello Theresa,

    Thank you for coming to Surge Narrows on September 11. It was interesting but not comforting that three BCTS representatives stated agreement with so many community observations and concerns, yet offered no option except to continue identifying forest and trees to satisfy the higher-level directive to log 47,000 cubic metres.

    You wrote later that you will be filing and considering all written comments, as well as your notes from the meeting. Since we didn’t see any of the BCTS representatives writing anything, we wonder what concerns or ideas you noted. Our impression is that you didn’t hear us, because continuing to nudge lines and ribbons as a solution does not address community impacts, the local economy, biodiversity, or climate change. We understand your dilemma and that your operations directive is focussed only on fibre extraction, but it is still terribly confusing that you “agree” with our concerns, yet don’t have any suggestion of who to address, or any idea for how to widen the narrow focus of the BCTS mandate.

    We pointed out the uniqueness of this area, and its many higher values. Several residents described the personal impacts of previous BCTS logging. Tourism operators presented the area’s economic value and lasting benefits, describing operations and potential that doesn’t destroy the neighbourhood. We questioned (again) the paradox of public and private contributions of seven million dollars to create and protect a marine park on one side of the channel while Ministry of Forests makes plans to destroy the opposite shore. We referenced many community efforts to protect this place we call home, with its remnant old forest and mature second growth that could and should be forest for the future.

    We complained that government has failed to enact any of the 14 recommendations of their Old Growth Strategic Review panel. We looked at the government’s mapped deferral areas, but noted (and you agreed) that the proposed areas are high rocky places and steep cool slopes that never-have and never-will grow commercially valuable trees; and how these deferral areas are designed as no-loss to logging interests rather than protection for places with high biodiversity values.

    The Discovery Islands are situated in an exceptionally diverse landscape that supports remarkable biodiversity: Within the watershed basin, BC’s ecological classification system maps parts of two ecoprovinces, three ecoregions, four terrestrial ecosections, and two marine ecosections. The area claims BC’s highest mountains and its deepest fjords; it contains the driest and wettest places on BC’s coast, including Mittlenatch Island’s desert ecosystem that lies within sight of Sonora Island where 180 inches falls in a typical year. At Desolation Sound there is the warmest ocean north Mexico’s Baja with a Mediterranean climate, while up Bute Inlet the ocean’s glacial snowmelt is as close to freezing as liquid can be – where Arctic influences deliver unbelievably cold winters and the strongest catabatic (outflow) winds anywhere in the northern hemisphere. The immense diversity of physical and climate conditions that collide and overlap here creates extremely high and extremely valuable biodiversity! Citizen scientists have identified more than 2600 species in the last few years. The beauty of the area is also immense…

    Governments around the world are rushing to protect 30% of the land base for essential biodiversity.

    In BC’s Old Growth: Last Stand for Biodiversity (2020), BC forest scientists Price, Holt, and Daust noted that a healthy forest requires a minimum of 30% ecosystem intactness – and where less than 10% is protected there will be long term damage to the ecosystem. They recommended an “immediate moratorium on harvest of old (and mature) forest in any biogeoclimatic variant with less than 10 percent old forest remaining today.” The Discovery Islands lie mostly in two terrestrial ecosections which are severely under protected -- Outer Fjordlands at 5.3% and Georgia Strait at about 9%. The large amount of public (Crown) land on Maurelle Island offers opportunity for significant protection of biodiversity in the Discovery Islands.

    Please ask your directors to review and rethink and revise the BCTS (MoF) plan to simply use Maurelle Island as a place to log AAC. Islands are special and this one is no exception.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Lannie Keller

    Surge Narrows, BC


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