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  • Former logger fights for remaining old-growth forests


    Jim Pine
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    I AM 70 YEARS OLD and have a small farm outside of Victoria. I was a logger at Port Renfrew, a log scaler and a highschool teacher. I helped persuade the Harcourt government to protect the Sooke Hills Wilderness Park. 

     

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    Jim Pine with a cabbage grown on his farm outside Victoria

     

    I began working in the forest industry because I lost a bet in a bar. My buddy and I were in need of some cash and there was one opening for a chokerman. I lost the bet and had to work. I made more money than I had ever seen in my life. I worked a few months a year and went traveling for the rest. Then it paid for my university. Over 15 years I worked as a logger, a data processor of forestry reports, and as a log scaler measuring trees to determine the royalty payment from each one. 

    I was shocked even back then at the waste. Clearcutting sacrifices all the young trees so that the industry can cream off the highest value. A sustainable forest, selectively logged, has a life cycle of about 250 years. Our approach is much shorter. We are converting thousand-year-old forests that produce tight-grain lumber into “fibre farms” with 75-year rotations, resulting in inferior lumber. With the current trajectory we will have logged all the old growth within 3-5 years. 

    We take no account of the damage to the soil and the rivers from erosion and compaction. As far as I know no studies have been done by the BC government of the impact of clearcutting on ecosystems. But we do know that old-growth trees clean water and nurture salmon as well as sink carbon. We know that they are havens for the biodiversity recipes that allow new regenerative forests to grow. 

    Allowing multinational corporations to continue with their rapacious practices means we are impoverished economically and environmentally and the remaining jobs will support far fewer people with much lower wages. One man on a feller buncher can take out as much wood as it took eight people when I started.

    The government and industry philosophy is based on the belief that there are no moral constraints against domination and perpetual growth, and that competition is the basis of success. But there is so much evidence that cooperation, reciprocity and respect are at least as important for resilience and survival. As elders it is our responsibility to tell a different story, one which reflects a 1,000 year ecosystem-wide view.

    Premier John Horgan is duplicitous when he tells us he cares about the rights of the Pacheedaht elected council, but can’t find $347,000 to replace the money they might receive over the next 3 years in the revenue-sharing agreement with Teal Jones, who say they will make $20 million although other estimates are much higher. He didn’t listen to the West Moberly Nation and stop Site C, or the Blueberry Nation and stop fracking, or the Squamish or Kwakiutl people and conserve their old growth. And what has it cost to have the RCMP, with heavy equipment operators, helicopter surveillance and the Canadian military to arrest the protestors?

    I care so much about this that I am willing to get arrested, breaking the unjust law that says the logging can continue. Recently retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella reminded us that the rule of justice is at least as important as the rule of law, which has given us apartheid, slavery and colonization. It is really unfair that the RCMP do not hesitate to arrest Indigenous youth but I have engaged in obvious civil disobedience five times within plain sight of police and have yet to be arrested. Bad press to arrest old white men I guess. 

    After requesting a meeting with my MLA, Lana Popham, her constituency assistant wrote: “In terms of the Old Growth Panel Review, Minister Popham is not currently taking meetings with individual constituents on the matter.” What happened to representative democracy?

    To the young people at Fairy Creek I say, “Bravo! Thank you! I am proud to be on your side”. 

    To the rest of us I ask, “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?” 

    Jim Pine is a member of Elders for Ancient Forests in Victoria

     
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    We all know this to be true, but we sleep-walk through life pretending it isn't. I'm sure we all want to be good ancestors, time to wake up and help stop the madness.

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    The priviledge of being an ancestor was not there for all those whose life stopped in childhood.  If you want a future with children who live to be parents, protect the land and water with everything you've got.

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    Well said, Jim. Thank-you for speaking so clearly. Fairy Creek has been instrumental in waking up the rest of the province, country and world to the critical state of our collective forests. This makes me angry and sad beyond belief. 

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    In your article you state that you are a 70 year old farmer living in Sooke. One what do you think your farmland once was… second you are living near one of the largest clearcuts in BC. Third forestry paid for your travel and education. For all of that you should be thankful. But more to the point just as the world around you has changed in 70 years, so has forestry. As you no longer work in the industry, you do not have first hand information about how forestry is managed. So I suggest you go back to your cabbage garden and focus on managing that instead of sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. 

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    As somebody who has worked in the industry on the Island for over 40 years, I can tell that the previous commenter doesnt.  We are definitely running out of old growth.  The stuff they log now would never have been considered a few years ago due to its low quality, which leads to greater waste than ever.  I have worked on heliblocks where as much as 80% of the trees cut are left on the ground!  The second growth they harvest in my region is cut at 40 years old!  I have counted the rings.  Salmon have greatly declined here due to rivers drying up from all the clearcuts.  Second growth sucks more water whereas old growth retains water.  They are logging in all the watersheds now on Vancouver Island.  Only protected watersheds remain intact and even then, often not.  Large chunks of Strathcona Park have previously been logged.  Species that are old growth dependent are being extirpated from whole regions of the province, such as caribou.  I am happy that some people are taking a stand.  As a mayor, I have made a point of advocating for a slowdown in the annual allowable cut and have endorsed the Old Growth Management Committee recommendations, as have my regional district.  We have even negotiated protection of our unlogged drinking watershed here in Tahsis.  Every bit counts.  We have no time for any more misinformation and the mismanagement of our forests has to end.

     

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    Guest Fred Knezevich P.Ag ret.

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    In 1966 I went to school at Arcata, California.  The proposed Redwood National Park was then controversial.  At the time, the tallest trees in the world had just been found in Redwood Creek.  Environmentalist wanted to save the whole watershed, most of which had not been logged.  In 1966, logging was the number 1 industry followed by fishing and then dairy.  Arcata Lumber argued they needed all the old growth to carry them into the second growth rotation.  In the end, the world was cheated of just 1 complete intact ecological unit of old growth forest.  Instead, we, the citizens of the world have a patchwork of small state parks, Friends of the Redwoods small parcels, tied together by a narrow ribbon of old growth trees along Highway 1 and 101.  Where is Arcata Lumber, the largest Redwood Mill in California?  It is gone as are the magnificent Redwoods that once stood in California.  British Columbia has the largest remaining stand of temperate rain forest in the world and what are we doing?  We are following what logging has always been.  A greedy cut and get out industry that in the end leaves you nothing but stumps.  Once it is gone, it is gone.  It can not be replaced.  Our forests do not solely belong to us, they belong to the citizens of the world and until we, as a social group, realize this, nothing will change.  We do not have the god given right to destroy everything.

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    as a long-ago CKDA radio announcer and a resident both on Prior Street and out in Colwood, Victoria has never left my heart. Thanks so much for your sharing and your concern about our forests.

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    On 2021-08-05 at 10:44 AM, Guest Tamara said:

    In your article you state that you are a 70 year old farmer living in Sooke. One what do you think your farmland once was… second you are living near one of the largest clearcuts in BC. Third forestry paid for your travel and education. For all of that you should be thankful. But more to the point just as the world around you has changed in 70 years, so has forestry. As you no longer work in the industry, you do not have first hand information about how forestry is managed. So I suggest you go back to your cabbage garden and focus on managing that instead of sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. 

    A bleak (not to speak of rude) attitude like yours, Tamara, is fuelling the destruction of B.C.'s natural beauty, not to speak of all that is valuable in the rest of the world. I hope to hell you are not in any position of influence.

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  • The NDP's old-growth logging deferrals

    The map below shows FLNRORD's mapping of the 9 areas where logging deferrals were announced in September 2020. It also shows the intended deferral in the Central Walbran Valley, which has not been publicly announced. The mapping below shows that very little actual old-growth forest was included in the 9 deferrals that were announced. The Clayoquot deferrals includes a large part of Strathcona Park, as well as several parks in the Sound area, none of which were in any danger of being logged. Read more about this issue here.



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