letter to the editor

To the Editor,

Considering the enormous government accountability crisis we are presently immersed in, I’m not surprised to learn of the old growth deferral shell game that Ben Parfitt recently exposed: Secret Map Shows BC Playing a Shell Game with Old Growth | The Tyee. In the Interior north of the Kootenays, few deferrals of rare and irreplaceable big-tree old growth were kept.

Having clearcut themselves into a cul de sac of dwindling supply, industrial interests decided to secretly ignore decades of irrefutable publicly-funded science detailing our need for a massive shift in forest policy toward ecosystem health. In exchange for local big-tree forests, apparently to keep the numbers balanced for public perception, large areas of northern small-tree black spruce bogs and steep-growing stunted coastal cedar forests with no lumber potential were swapped in.

The cost of this particular shell game is extreme. To keep up with the insatiable and unrealistic demand for logs, natural and immense post-glaciation carbon reserves and habitat for endangered salmonids and caribou are on the chopping block. The provincial extinction crisis is of pandemic proportions. This region holds recently discovered species and cancer-fighting compounds and yet we are witnessing unstudied ancient ecosystems being rapidly transformed into tree farms prone to both extreme wildfires and devastating insect attacks.

The inland temperate rainforest is one of the rarest ecosystems on earth, and those deferrals were specified for a reason. Despite this, millions of cubic meters are on the chopping block while dozens of mills have been shut down, depressing smaller community economies such as McBride’s. And yet the status quo of government mismanagement and industrial greed marches on, trucking the logs ever-further to the big logging corporation’s mills, for export as raw logs, or pelletized for climate-destroying energy.

This ever-compounding, unnecessary, and unchecked list of crises is unconscionable, and yet it seems to continue to go underreported by the big press regardless of the political party in charge. Hopefully, Parfitt’s expose will initiate the fundamental change necessary to enable future generations of locals to have more than tree farms and crumbs at their table.

We demand accountability and a change in the industrial mindset culminating in the saving of our last ancient groves. Get on it, B.C. Government.

Rob Mercereau,

Dunster B.C.