Political leadership needed to resolve Cortes Island’s “War in the Woods”
Conservationists renew call for BC Liberals to commit to restoring and expanding a “BC Park Acquisition Fund” to purchase and protect endangered forests on private lands.
The conflict over the past week between local Cortes Island residents and Island Timberlands over the company’s contentious plans to log endangered forests has conservationists renewing their call for political leadership in BC to resolve the “War in the Woods”.
“The province hasn’t had a dedicated annual fund to purchase and protect private lands in years, despite that fact that for every $1 invested in new parks in BC, another $9 is generated in revenues in the provincial economy, according to studies. Island Timberlands also has an obligation to log according to community, ecosystem-based forestry standards on Cortes Island.”
Over 10 years, $400 million would be available for purchasing critical habitats on private lands throughout the province. The last time the provincial government had a dedicated land acquisition fund was in the 2008 budget. A similar battle on Salt Spring Island over a decade ago between local residents and a logging/development company was resolved through funding from the provincial, federal and regional governments and local citizens to purchase the endangered lands around Burgoyne Bay and on Mount Maxwell.
- Cortes Island
- Day Road Forest near Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast
- Stillwater Bluffs near Powell River on the Sunshine Coast
- McLaughlin Ridge near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island
- Cameron Valley Firebreak near Port Alberni
- Cathedral Grove Canyon near Port Alberni
- Lands directly adjacent to Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park near Port Alberni
- Labour Day Lake near Port Alberni
- Pearl Lake adjacent to Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island
- Eagle Ridge Bluffs near Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island
Old-growth forests are vital for supporting endangered species, tourism, recreation, the climate, clean water, wild salmon, and many First Nations cultures. On Vancouver Island, 75 per cent of the original, productive old-growth forests have already been logged, including 90 per cent of the most productive old-growth forests in the lowlands where the largest trees grow. Well over 90 per cent of the old-growth “Dry Maritime” and Coastal Douglas-fir forests on BC’s southern coast have already been logged.