Groups wary of logging near park

Cathedral Grove between Parksville Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni is ‘mascot of old-growth forests’

  • Mar. 26, 2013 5:00 a.m.

T.J. Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance stands near an old-growth Douglas-fir tree within a proposed cutblock near Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park.

Survey tape was discovered recently in an old-growth Douglas fir and hemlock forest 300 meters from Cathedral Grove’s park boundary and a local conservation group is now calling for stronger old-growth protection policies in B.C. to protect this land and other places like it.

“Cathedral Grove is the mascot of old-growth forests in Canada,” said Qualicum Beach resident Annette Tanner, chair of the Mid-Island Wilderness Committee.

“If we can’t ensure its ecological integrity because of the B.C. government’s inaction, or complicity‚ it really gives a black eye to B.C.’s environmental reputation in the international community.”

The planned cutblock by Island Timberlands is about 40 hectares and lies within a formerly protected Ungulate (deer) Winter Range, according to the Wilderness Commmitee. It lies on the southwest facing slope of Mt. Horne on the ridge above the park and highway.

Tanner and other conservationists said they are concerned that logging the area would further fragment the forest that is contiguous with the small park, and destroy an important wildlife corridor. They said they believe logging would also threaten eco-tourism in the area by destroying a major section of the popular hiking trail, the Mt. Horne Loop Trail, which the cutblock overlaps.

The lands are privately owned by Island Timberlands.

The Ancient Forest Alliance, based in Victoria, is also calling on the B.C. Liberals and NDP to commit to a provincial plan to protect the province’s old-growth forests, to ensure sustainable second-growth forestry and to end the export of raw, unprocessed logs to foreign mills, among other actions.

Calls from The NEWS to Island Timberlands seeking comment were not returned by deadline.

— NEWS Staff/Mid-Island Wilderness Committee

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