LETTER: Clearcuts, dull scenery no draw for visitors to Alberni Valley

One year, the forest would be full of mushrooms under tall canopy…. next year, only a clearcut…

To the Editor,

In your Jan. 16 editorial you asked how to keep the confidence growing for desirability of this Valley. On the next page, there was the question: Do you think old growth forests need to be protected? With great trepidation, I waited for the answer, and was pleasantly surprised by the strong Yes vote.

But then, I got a report from friends who had gone hiking on my favourite trail. They found debris of massive clear cuts blocking the trail, including rare Arbutus trees. Their Lower Mainland visitors were not amused, it was their first time hiking here. No doubt, those people won’t move here anytime soon.

I have had the same experience in many surrounding areas. One year, the forest would be full of mushrooms under tall canopy…. next year, only a clearcut. It’s heartbreaking for people who are drawn here for the enjoyment of nature. Trying to find new areas for hiking is also difficult, because there are no maps.

Cheap housing is definitely a draw, and since I have a cheap house, I have never known that our residential tax rate is high. One great improvement we could do though, is paint the houses in cheerful colours. Coming up the canal, you see this multitude of grey, with one lovely green, red-roof house. The whole hillside would be so much more appealing if there was colour. Think northern Norway, where every house is different: bright blues, greens, yellows and reds. In the bleak winters, it helps uplift the mood, to say nothing about those expected cruise ship visitors, whose first view is the mill and hill.

Rayana Erland,

Port Alberni

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