by Leslie Thorsell
As I was enjoying magnificent pictures of Eagle River and Stillwater bluffs at Friends of Eagle River’s meeting in February, a slide came up of Horseshoe Lake and River. My breathing stopped momentarily–I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could this be the same Horseshoe Lake where I had spent time swimming in this paradise and lying in the sun in awe of the pristine surroundings? I remembered conversations with tourists who were paddling the canoe route, talking about how lucky we were to live here. Now in front of me the
forest was gone, along with its inhabitants. All that was left were some anorexic trees strewn across the stream. Island Timberland, BC’s pine beetle, had struck again.
Since the deregulation in 2004, BC’s forests have been an open market, being logged seven days a week. Port Alberni can attest to that: their mayor sat on the “hump” one afternoon and counted 96 logging trucks in one day, all raw-log exports with no local benefit to the community–quite the opposite. Island Timberlands appears to be acting irresponsibly as a sustainable company or employer, cutting trees down faster than they are replanting, and will have no need for employees once the product is gone. I was told by an employee of Island Timberlands that the plan is to cut down every old-growth tree left standing within five years, so as to halt any
controversy. Ninety per cent of old-growth forest has already been cut down and it seems that 100% of our natural heritage is to be sacrificed. Eagle River is next on the agenda.
It is up to us as a community–environmentalists, business owners, teenagers, anyone with a voice who sees the importance of leaving this area natural and protected for the wide variety of fish and animal species–to speak up now. Time is running out. Read more »