By Andru McCracken

Moose are becoming rarer in BC forests due to a variety of suspected reasons. /RMG FILE PHOTO/BOB HOSKINS

Liam Parfitt, a logger with McBride connections, wants BC’s forests to grow more moose and he’s hoping he can rally environmentalists, blue collar workers, conservationists and loggers to champion better forest management, management that would see more healthy moose survive… with the promise of moose meat.

A facebook page supporting the movement gets right to the point with its title: Get our Forests to Grow more Moose in BC.

Parfitt has been aware of and supportive of activism in the region promoting better forest practices and against, for example, spraying broadleaf pesticides like glyphosate on forests, but he believes those movements are failing to gain momentum and could risk growing opposition because people won’t buy into an idea if the outlook is negative.

He gives Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen environmentalist, as an example.

“Her message is you should be ashamed of yourself,” he said. While the science might be good, the message doesn’t inspire blue collar workers to look for solutions, he said.

It’s a fault he sees in, for example, James Steidle’s Stop the Spray BC campaign (which happens to be gaining momentum throughout the province).

“It tends to be scaring off the blue collar worker,” said Parfitt. “It’s hard to get people on board for stopping something. Let’s do things right. Instead of saying stop, let’s do something positive.”

Steidle, for his part, is on board with Parfitt.

“How can we do forestry in a way that benefits moose? It’s a good question,” said Steidle.

He’s considered coming up with a more positive name for his Stop the Spray group which has been gaining prominence.

“If we can tie in these huge clear cuts and monocrops to a loss of moose and the inability of the average person to put food on their table, then we can make some progress,” he said.

Options already exist
For Parfitt there are an abundance of good forest practices that can help wildlife and minimize climate change, but the entire industry, he believes, has been captured by a generation of professionals with a pessimistic view.

“Exciting things are happening in the world. Our forestry is so well primed to serve many more needs than just bringing logs to a sawmill or a pulp mill. There is no reason we need to have massive clearcuts.”

Parfitt, whose daytime work is with Freya Logging based in Prince George, said thinning the understory and protecting existing plantations by harvesting diseased and damaged trees helps promote carbon storage and creates a great place for moose to flourish.

We profiled Parfitt’s approach to a logging block in the Robson Valley up the Holmes watershed in January.

Parfitt said the work there has paid off.

“The understory has gone crazy. If you get a bit of sunshine on the forest floor… the understory is where all the food is. We can do so many things to adjust the landscape to make it better but we’re not doing it.”

Parfitt said that in BC you are either an industrialist or an environmentalist committed to one of two options, clearcutting everything, or preserving everything as is, a Western European notion of nature as perfect – so leave it alone.

“We’re living in an era where humans affect everything. There is a tremendous amount of things we can do.”

Parfitt acknowledges he has an interest in seeing more partial cutting.

“There is definitely a personal benefit to me. But before I started Freya Logging, I felt the same way,” he said. “The social demand for good resource stewardship is huge.”

The moose meat connection

Parfitt said common ground exists between the hot headed industrialist and the hemp-adorned environmentalist.

“You can get a stupid logger and a stupid environmentalist, and they are both total blockheads, but I can get them to work together because, who doesn’t love moose meat?”