Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Guardian Gisele Martin shares a moment with an old growth tree. (Submitted photo)

Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Guardian Gisele Martin shares a moment with an old growth tree. (Submitted photo)

LETTER: Gov’t needs to listen to people when it comes to old growth forests

While the government delays, irreplaceable old growth forests are being logged and permanently lost

To the Editor,

The slaughter continues as a company is planning to log in the Barkley Sound and Clayoquot Sound, including old growth forests. These is a prime tourist destination.

Other logging companies, like Mosaic, are continuing to lock and gate people out from reaching provincial and other recreational areas in the Port Alberni Valley and elsewhere. Some of the roads, like Comox trail, were open to the public for more than 100 years and the public has a right to use them.

The new NDP majority government campaigned on an election promise to implement all 14 of the old growth review panel recommendations, which was received in April 2020. One of those recommendations was to ban logging in at-risk old growth forests within six months. These deferrals are overdue – they should have been implemented by the end of October at the latest.

While the government delays, irreplaceable old growth forests are being logged and permanently lost.

Productive old growth forests—where big, old trees are found—now make up less than one percent of forests in B.C. Despite their rarity and importance, 75 percent of these old growth forests are unprotected and open to logging.

The government keeps boasting about deferring logging in 353,000 hectares in September, but only 3,800 hectares of those areas were actually at-risk old-growth, which means 99 percent of remaining, productive old growth forests were excluded from this announcement.

Public support for protecting old growth is evident: more than 55,000 people have signed a petition with Stand.earth to end logging in at-risk old growth forests across B.C., and thousands more have sent emails, made phone calls, and reached out on social media. More broadly, Sierra Club’s recent polling indicates that more than 90 percent of people living in British Columbia support action to protect endangered old growth forests.

Peter Novotny,

Port Alberni

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Districtforestry