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Wildstands Alliance Forest Witness Campaign

January 4, 2012

The Wildstands Alliance is going into its fourth year of work on Cortes Island as we enter 2012. Many people on and off Cortes are still largely unaware of the Alliance’s core goals and the range of allied initiatives, so, the launching of our Forest Witness campaign, on the eve of the New Year, makes this an appropriate time to update the greater Cortes community.

Inspired by the public meeting with Island Timberlands’ representatives in Manson’s Hall, July 3, 2008…  the Wildstands Alliance came together as a community forum… a unique alliance of community initiatives addressing the future ecological and economic sustainability of Cortes Island forest lands.

The Wildstands Alliance operates as an open community process, appealing to the multi-faceted vision of individuals working towards the common goal of effecting a shift in the paradigm from industrial clear-cut logging practices, by corporate interests, to ecologically and economically sustainable forest practices, by the local community and in the long-term interests of the local community.

Initial research into investor options for ecogifting benefits and/or conservation offsets, identified the need to have the lands in question qualify as ecologically significant. Over the summers of 2009 and 2010, volunteer teams ground-truthed the Ministry of Environment’s sensitive ecosystem mapping for Island Timberlands’ forest land holdings on Cortes Island. This enabled an inventory of BC provincially designated rare species and ecological communities to be drafted. This inventory clearly proves these forest lands are ecologically significant. Donors interested in purchasing these lands for conservation, thereby qualify for the federal and provincial benefits. This important work was completed by the On the Ground ally of the Wildstands Alliance. This allied initiative also documents salmonid presence and has recently sponsored the community mapping work on Cortes.

The Communications ally maintains a website where the greater Cortes community can keep abreast of Wildstands Alliance news, initiatives and community events. Annual public meetings hosted in 2010 and 2011 have kept the Cortes community up to date on progress made as the Alliance forges ahead. The Media Outreach ally provides media coverage of Wildstands Alliance initiatives beyond the greater Cortes community and will be especially busy in 2012 as we gear up for our Forest Witness campaign, outlined below.

The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island ally has formed to purchase Island Timberlands’ forest land holdings immediately adjacent to Carrington Bay Regional Park Reserve. These forest lands will be held in trust for all the children of Cortes Island in perpetuity. “Imagine, a forest in trust to the children!”
Projects by Cortes Island children in support of the “Children’s Forest” include a 33 piece original art exhibition recently featured in a printed book, Forest Alphabet, art card sales, banner projects, and the clay production of Forest Ents.

Most recently, the Island Stance ally has evolved to encourage civic responsibility prior to industrial logging by Island Timberlands on their private managed forest lands holdings on Cortes Island. Island Stance is committed to peaceful community action from a diverse, island-wide base of support and involvement. Island Stance commits to clear, transparent and ongoing communication with the Cortes community.

To date, over 100 people have been involved in the Wildstands Alliance and we welcome each and everyone who shares our goals towards a paradigm shift in forest land stewardship.

the Wildstands Alliance Cortes campaign

Island Timberlands intends to commence industrial logging in January 2012, on their corporate holdings on Cortes Island. The Wildstands Alliance has been called to bear witness.

Called to witness… the true ownership of British Columbia’s corporately held forests. In the case of Cortes Island, Brookfield Asset Management is parent company to Island Timberlands.  BAM is one of the largest corporations in Canada, with keen focus on investments and profit, not forests and communities.  We are called to witness decision makers in Toronto running roughshod through rural BC communities.

Called to witness… inadequate protection for the ecosystems and species of corporately owned forest land. Current provincial legislation regarding management of private forest is inadequate. Industry created regulations inadequately protect the ecological integrity of community watersheds, sensitive ecosystems along with rare and endangered species. We are called to witness the poor stewardship of corporately managed forest ecosystems in British Columbia.

Three years in the making, the Wildstands Alliance Cortes Campaign has a solid foundation of research, community alliance initiatives and provincial partnerships established to champion a new forest ethic for British Columbia.

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ~ Aldo Leopold

Join us… bear witness for British Columbia’s forest lands.


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