Regarding the letter to the editor by Judy Stratton published in the Lakes District News edition of July 4, 2012.
I am not impressed with the current Liberal Government’s performance on many issues, including the goods and services tax, B.C. Rail, the Insurance Corporation of B.C. and B.C. Hydro but for Judy Stratton to rant on about how our forest industry woes are the fault of the current government is way off the mark.
I was born in the Bulkley Valley in 1954 and have spent most of my life here. My early years were spent working in the forest industry and to this day I have friends who still do. The deplorable state of our decimated pine forests right across B.C. and into Alberta can be directly attributed to the NDP government that was in power during the 1970s.
At that time, professional foresters within the ministry warned the government that a mountain pine beetle infestation was developing in Tweedsmuir Park and that, unless quick and aggressive action was taken to stop the infestation, it would quickly become unmanageable. Prescribed burning and logging were recommended as ways to control the threat.
Rather than accept the advice of these professionals, who are educated in this field and who are paid by the taxpayers to take care of our forests, the NDP government instead, disregarded their warnings and caved in to eco-groups who were pining that the park should be left untouched, to let mother nature take its course blah, blah, blah.
The government was concerned about their political stock and worried about the negative publicity that would surely follow if they were to allow the ministry to go into the park and do what needed to be done.
Thus they took the spineless, self serving path and bowed to the squeaky wheel … a group of misguided, leaf licking morons who live in a fairy tale utopia where everything fixes itself.
Fantastic isn’t it? We tax payers pay professionals for their expertise and then our elected representatives tell them to get stuffed when the eco-terrorists start making waves.
That, Judy Stratton, is why our pine forests are wiped out.
To blather on about the Liberals lack of attention to this issue is unjustified.
They are merely dealing with the results of a NDP government who had a genuine opportunity to save our forest but chose to sacrifice it in order to serve their own personal desires.
The diatribe continues on about the reckless abandonment of the Liberal’s policies on a multitude of forest issues, one of which is the aggressive salvage logging of beetle kill pine and how it is allegedly causing flooding throughout the Fraser and Skeena River watersheds.
These trees are dead. They do not suck up residual moisture any more than stumps would.
Are we to believe, by this half backed assertion, that if we didn’t log these dead trees, then the water would somehow be sucked up by these same dead trees and thus not cause any flooding?
As I mentioned earlier, the damage to our forests was done long ago by an incompetent NDP government and as a result the forests died and needed to be logged as soon as possible because these dead trees only make saw logs for about four years then they become so dry and checked (cracked) that they can no longer be sawn into lumber viably.
The sooner it gets logged the sooner we can salvage what little economic benefit is left of this decimated industry and hopefully keep a portion of the industry working and, the sooner we can go in and replant it the sooner we’ll have a new forest and this will finally revitalize the area and stabilize the terrain.
Which brings up another point, replanting. Contrary to what Judy Stratton’s letter suggests, evidence clearly shows that replanting is far beyond the rate of harvest and has been for many years.
Right here in our own area, one need only drive out any of the dozens of back roads and you will see vibrant replanted forests aged from one to 50 years old.
I have visited logging blocks where I was involved in logging when I was 19 years old, near 40 years ago. The replanted forests on those blocks consist of trees that are 60-70 feet tall and one to 1.5 feet on the butt.
Yes, there are definitely some areas where the Liberals could certainly raise the bar in the forest industry. For example they should be forcing the quota holders to take far more of each tree into the mill … 50 per cent rot and four inch tops, the waste that is left when logging is completed is disgraceful.
That waste belongs to us, the citizens and we are not being paid for it if it is not hauled out of the bush and scaled at the mill.
The shipping of raw logs out of the country and the sale of boarded up B.C. sawmills to those same countries suggests that those countries are buying our raw logs to cheap and then cutting them into lumber with what used to be viable sawmills from our very own province.
Pedaling misinformation and laying blame where it is not warranted does nothing to help the situation and suggests that nothing has been learned from past mistakes.
If you so desperately feel the need to malign the Liberals at least find a subject that they are guilty of.
I mean there’s a few I could go on about myself. Those of us who were around here when the pine beetle infestation was being identified as a serious problem know darn well who is to blame.
It sure as hell isn’t the Liberals. Instead you can thank those NDP politicians who are now on a fat gold plated pensions rather than in jail for negligence and willful destruction of a Crown asset.
You are barking up the wrong pine tree.
Mark Holenstein is a Smithers resident