Target: Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia
Goal: Save ancient, irreplaceable forest from logging
The Upper Walbran Valley is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in Canada and though it is surrounded by protected areas, it does not benefit from protections itself. About 75 percent of the valley’s southern coast has already been deforested. Massive, 900-year-old red cedars were carelessly chopped down. The central area of the valley has remained mostly intact, but local activists have reason to believe that this last piece of historic forest has been marked for logging as well. The forest must be saved for its many benefits to the environment and the diverse and ancient ecology of its woods.
The Carmanah/Walbran Provincial Park was established in the 1990s following protests over the area’s deforestation by logging companies, but the Upper Walbran Valley, Central Walbran Ancient Forest and Castle Grove were all left out of the protections the rest of the forest received. Since the areas where the oldest trees live have mostly remained intact, the protests were quieted for a time.
Ecological surveys conducted in the Upper Walbran Valley have revealed the true importance of the forest. At-risk species who call the valley their home include Queen Charlotte goshawks, marbled murrelets, red-legged frogs, Keen’s long-eared myots and Vaux’s swifts. The forests are also home to wolves, cougars, black bears, black-tailed deer, elk and coho salmon. The trees are invaluable for sequestering carbon, reversing or slowing the effects of climate change. They are relied on for clean water and tourism, and are a rich part of native culture. Native people of the area have long relied on them for house building and canoe and mask making.
The Teal Jones Group, a local logging company with tenure over logging licences, has not yet requested logging permits for the central area where the highest concentration of old-growth forest is, but recently local conservationists have seen tape tagging on the trees, used typically to mark trees meant to be cut. Even if the Teal Jones Group does not choose to cut more of this ancient forest down, the trees will remain vulnerable to prevalent threats until they are granted protection.
The British Columbia Ancient Forest Alliance is calling for extensive protections of the Upper Walbran Valley, Central Walbran Ancient Forest and Castle Grove. Sign this petition and join the fight to save these irreplaceable and indispensible trees from logging, which could easily be carried out in second-growth forests instead.
Dear Ms. Clark,
There are many uses for wood in our society and our industry has long called for a steady supply, but the deforestation of ancient trees in old-growth forests is irresponsible. The Upper Walbran Valley, Central Walbran Ancient Forest and Central Grove do not need to be cut down to sustain the supply of wood. These ancient forests are irreplaceable for the diverse and at-risk ecology that lives in them, for climate stability, for clean water, for tourism and for the native cultures whose woods these have always been.
Second-growth forests are a good alternative to cutting down 900-year-old red cedars in ancient forests and southern British Columbia is home to many second-growth trees. Old-growth forests should receive more comprehensive protection, since they cannot simply be regrown. They are invaluable to our planet.
I urge you to place the Upper Walbran Valley, the Castle Grove and the Central Walbran Ancient forests under the protections they need.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wsiegmund via Wikimedia Commons