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120 Tourism Businesses Threatened by Outdated Forestry Practices

March 12, 2013

by Mike Moore

The Discovery Islands Marine Tourism Group published a full page ad in today’s Victoria Times Colonist to bring to light how the BC Liberals have neglected the environment to the detriment of tourism and in favour of short term profits by the logging industry.

There’s a new confrontation brewing in British Columbia forests and it’s coming from an unlikely source. The latest battle to protect Vancouver Island’s forests isn’t being waged by an environmental organization…it’s being waged by business: In particular, the tourism industry. A coalition of tourism businesses in the Discovery Islands, near Campbell River are charging the government with indifference to the needs of a major economic player in the region.

The Discovery Islands Marine Tourism Group is a coalition of businesses including the local Chamber of Commerce, which claims provincial forest policies designed by the BC Liberal government are encouraging the forest industry to clear cut forests along marine corridors which are critical to the survival of a large wilderness based tourism industry.

The group went public with its concerns by publishing a full page ad in the Victoria Times Colonist criticizing the government for its inaction. Spokesperson Ralph Keller says the group wanted to send a strong message to government that forest management polices aren’t working for Discovery Islands business, employees and their families. “We’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to convince the government there’s a serious problem here but they’re not listening.”

The Discovery Islands are home to over 120 tourism – dependent businesses: lodges, resorts, motels, campgrounds, marinas, tour companies, and related operations which employ over 1200 people and generate 45 million dollars in revenue every year. “The Discovery Islands have become a world class destination worthy of increased protection.” Keller said. “We’ve become the second most important marine wilderness destination in BC, behind Tofino/Pacific Rim, yet the government is managing the forests here like its 1956. They’re treating us like bystanders instead of major revenue producers and employers.” Keller went on to say that in the last 15 years, Vancouver Island has lost most of its pulp mills and saw mills and with them thousands of jobs—now out-sourced to Asia. “The once great forest industry is now just a logging industry acting with impunity, completely insensitive to our needs. They degrade our operating environment then send the timber not only out of the region, but out of the country. Is this supposed to be the BC Liberal commitment to jobs and families?”

“We’re not against logging, but when the government revised the Forest Range & Practices Act in 2003, they gave all the power to the logging industry and left every one else out of the planning process.” He went on to say that tourism operators are kept completely in the dark about cutting plans. “We find out about forest development plans when we start to see trees being felled. We’re being misled about forest industry intentions and have no meaningful way to influence cut blocks. When we complain to government, they tell us to go talk to the licensees…Who’s writing the rules here? Whose forests are these? It’s pretty clear this government is about corporate resource extraction and everybody else is just in the way”.

For more information go to:
Or contact one of these business operators:
Ralph Keller, 250-285-2823
Ross Campbell: 250-202-3229
Michael Moore: 250-935-6756
Breanne Quesnel or John Waibel: 250-285-2121
Jack Springer: 250-287-2667
Philip Stone 250-285-2234

Our thanks to Daniel Pierce of Ramshackle Pictures for producing the video “Timber and Tourism in the Discovery Islands”!

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Forests for the Trees: Losing the Wild

February 22, 2013

by Ray Grigg
via Pacific Free Press

Real forests are wild. The forests of human contrivance are tree farms, plantations, monocultures, timber supply areas. Such clusters of trees may superficially appear to be real forests, but they are less complex, less organic, less living and therefore less enduring. And they were handicapped by their beginning. Instead of originating and developing by the creative randomness of biological chance, their growth was guided by a defined purpose. They are not real forests because they are not wild.
Even real forests can lose their wild quality if they are disturbed by human influence. The enchantment provided by the wild is rare and delicate, sometimes violated by a word or a breath. Maybe this is why real forests invite the same quiet reverence as cathedrals, temples, or those sacred and holy places which countenance nothing less than silent awe.
A person in a real forest is in the presence of the wild, of something so profoundly important and so deeply primal that it only speaks to our bones — because, as Robert Bringhurst writes in The Tree of Meaning: Language, Mind and Ecology, “it is what-is” (Counterpoint, 2008).
In Bringhurst’s thinking, the wild is the essence of “what-is”, a conviction — better still, an insight, an awareness, a knowing — he explores in the chapter, “Wild Language”. As a linguist and typographer, Bringhurst is looking for the wild in language and typography, the same wild that is in real forests.
Not surprisingly, he admits failure. “Wild typography isn’t something I’ve achieved; its something I’m always trying to reach. It is typography in which each form is as well made and as well placed as the wildflowers blooming in an alpine meadow in the spring, deerprints in a rain-soft stretch of game trail, the feathers in a varied thrush’s wing, or the miniature forest of moss and lichen spreading over a stump.” In other words, the wild is a spontaneous rightness that happens of itself, an unfolding perfection and a continuing completeness that is powered from within.
The wild cannot be made by us. “People accustomed to orchards, farms and gardens,” writes Bringhurst, “very often think of the wild in opposition to the domesticated or tame. The garden, they say, has greater order than the wild. But it’s the other way around. The order of the garden may be easier to see, but it is fragile and superficial. It is artificial and unnatural in a very convincing sense: it cannot take care of itself. The order of the wild is self-sustaining, flexible and deep.”
This brings us closer to the meaning of wild in a real forest. In Bringhurst’s words, such forests are “a living, ever-changing shrine to timelessness”. The wild contains a level of ordering that transcends human influence and control. “The wild is by definition unmanaged and unmanageable, and in some sense unconfined by those who would manage it.”
This begins to explain why real forests — wild forests — are so special. They provide something far greater than human planning and intention, something even more complex and permanent than the civilizations we think are so sophisticated and durable. Indeed, as Bringhurst rightly observes, “Forests are also highly developed civilizations.” But they do not “need or want our managerial interference.” In reality, they contain a crucial wisdom that we would do well to learn, replicate and internalize. In Bringhurst’s words, “human civilizations actually start to resemble” a wild forest when they begin “to sense and respond to” the same “supple and reinforcing order” that guides its growth. So, “the wild isn’t something to conquer or subdue; it’s something to try to live up to: a standard better than gold.”
If this were all Bringhurst had to say about the wild in forests it would be more than enough. But he has more. “As soon as you think your way out of the wild — as soon as depression or arrogance or some other form of exaggerated self-concern leads you to see yourself as distinct from it — the wild looks like a thing. You might imagine you can carve it up and sell it. You might even think you can redesign it or manage it and do a better job than the wild itself. But of course you can’t. Your only hope, when you are really cut off from the wild, is to rejoin it. The wild is the biosphere: this tiny hollow ball which is the only place in the universe where you and I are free to be what we are.”
So the wild is a teacher, a constant reminder that we can be who we are. We can be ourselves just as the forest is itself. The same spontaneity that grows a wild forest grows the fullness of our own character. Just as each wild forest is unique, so too are we each unique, the organic consequence of a complex unfolding that happens of itself. We each become who we are just as a wild forest becomes what it is. The miracle of our own individual being is mirrored in the wild forest.
This comes close to the meaning of wild. And it comes close to the essential reason for protecting wild forests. They are ourselves as we ought to become and as we ought to be. We find ourselves in them. We can feel peaceful and whole in them because the freedom that makes them what they are is the same freedom that makes us who we are. Entering a wild forest is like entering our deepest selves, like coming home to who we really are. The elusive feeling that pervades a wild forest is the creative power of nature fulfilling itself.
Without the wild we become lost in a contrived world of impositions and manipulations, captives in a construction of conventions and expectations. We lose our character, our integrity, our soul, our essence. We need wild forests as a reminder to both ourselves and to our civilizations that what we seek is not a thing to be but a way to be.