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British Columbia Ancient Forests News
Cathedral Grove threatened by nearby logging, conservationist says
Metro, November 3, 2013
Canada’s oldest and most-renowned forest is facing new threats as logging on a nearby mountain opens the way for collateral damage to Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, local conservationists say.
Island Timberlands, based in Nanaimo, is in the midst of clearing a road to a plot of Douglas fir trees on the southwest-facing slope of Mount Horne, a plot of land estimated to be about 40-hectares.
While the land itself is not part of Cathedral Grove, Ken Wu, executive director of the Ancient Forest Alliance, said once the logging is finished Cathedral Grove will feel the after effects.
“They’re not going to log the park itself, but the park is damaged by the activities around its edges,” he said. “Basically these protected areas become islands of extinction.”
According to Wu, logging of Douglas fir trees on Mount Horne will destroy the winter habitat of black-tailed deer, pollute the Cameron River from siltation which runs through Cathedral Grove and feeds the local wildlife and plant life, and destroy part of the Mount Horne Loop Trail, a popular hiking and mushroom-picking area.
“Island Timberlands needs to back off and the government needs to fix the problem because they broke it,” Wu said.
The B.C. government once protected these lands, but in 2004 the lands were deregulated, thereby removing the old-growth, riparian, scenic, wildlife and endangered species habitat protections and the restrictions on raw log exports on those lands.
Wu and many other local conservation groups held a protest two weeks ago to raise awareness of the issue, but logging is still commencing.
“The company needs to hold off until the government can remedy the situation either with land-purchase or regulation,” Wu said.
Port Alberni Watershed-Forest Alliance spokeswoman Jane Morden met with Island Timberlands on Oct. 19, but could reach no agreement to halt logging for further discussion.
“Cathedral Grove is B.C.’s iconic old-growth forest that people around the world love – it’s like the redwoods of Canada,” Wu said. “The fact that a company can just move to log the mountainside above Canada’s most famous old-growth forest – assisted by the B.C. government’s previous deregulation of those lands and their current failure to take responsibility – underscores the brutal collusion between the B.C. Liberal government and the largest companies to liquidate our ancient forest heritage.”