By David F. Rooney
If you haven’t already signed it you might wish to consider a petition calling on the province to drop a proposal to log portions of Mount Macpherson near the Nordic Ski Club Lodge and the signature TNT trail.
Mount Macpherson is rapidly evolving into a key tourism area for both cross-country skiers in winter and, in the other three seasons, mountain biking.
The area is proposed for logging by the BC Timber Sales (BCTS) agency and many residents are deeply concerned. Some have banded together to create an online petition at change.org that has already been signed by 1,079 people. Paper petitions are also being circulated in town.
While this has not yet appeared on City Council’s agenda this year it deserves to be discussed — at length. Last September Council did order that a letter be written to the Ministry of Forests and Range asking it to extend the period of consultation related to the proposed logging project by an additional two months. It has also asked BC Timber Sales to organize a public presentation to inform the community of their plans for the Wetask Lake operating area. Please click here to read Community Economic Development Director Alan Mason’s report on this matter last autumn.
Here’s some of what has been posted by way of explanation at change.org:
“Recently, commercial logging has impacted a number of trails, and for many people, this has resulted in a less enjoyable outdoor experience. For many locals and tourists alike, recreating in a mature forest has intrinsic value, and many consider mountain bike and hiking trails in mature forest to be of higher quality due to the natural setting, the shade provided, and the roles of the canopy in maintaining trail quality.
“More logging is proposed for the area near the Nordic lodge and on the TNT trail (a signature trail) in the next twenty months. The recreation area is currently managed as a working forest. This means that nearly every tree will eventually be harvested.
“We believe the forest industry is an integral part of the local and provincial economy, and can be managed to minimize impacts to other values on our local lands. However, the current land use plan does not consider the recreational, tourism or intrinsic and quality of life values that the Mt. Macpherson area provides for the citizens of Revelstoke and the diverse and expanding tourist base visiting our world-class mountain town.”
This is the third time in recent years that there has been a clear conflict between community recreation and tourism aspirations and the economic objectives of the province and the forestry industry. There was a brief conflict over logging on Boulder Mountain earlier in this decade and deep concerns over logging near Begbie Falls. Both involved Stella-Jones and there was no prior consultation with the community over the company’s goals. To be fair to Stella-Jones, Forester Pat McMechan wrote an explanation of now the forestry industry works that was published by The Revelstoke Current in December. Pat provided that explanation prior to an open house about the way the forestry industry works that was held on January 13.
Pat McMechan rapidly pointed out an error in this story, which originally suggested that the harvesting proposal emanated Stella-Jones. The proposal comes from BC Timber Sales.
“1. Stella-Jones is not proposing to harvesting the area at Macpherson around the Nordic day lodge and the TNT trail,” he said in an e-0mail to The Current. “This area is within the BCTS operating area and BCTS is currently working through their harvesting plans there. This harvesting proposal has nothing to do with Stella-Jones.
“2. I feel like the following statement is unfair. “Both involved Stella-Jones and there was no prior consultation with the community over the company’s goals”. I do agree that we made some mistakes in our consultation regarding the Begbie harvesting. There was in fact the legally required consultation with the community and Stella-Jones worked closely with the tenured recreation group (RCA). Our harvesting plans were modified to reflect the information that was shared with us. However, it was identified in the FPB report that we could do a better job of communicating with the public, which we have been striving to do ever since. Hence the open house process.
“3. I also want to be clear that the article I wrote that was published in The Revelstoke Current in December was not sharing my goals, nor Stella-Jones goals. It was an attempt to share with the public how the current system works and a bit of information about the local forest industry.”
The petition asks Revelstokians if they enjoy recreating at Mount Macpherson and if they think the area is important for the diversity and sustainability of our local economy. If they can answer “yes” to those questions it suggests they should consider signing the petition.
The organizers are also asking that City, CSRD and the Province “work together with the citizens and stakeholders of Revelstoke to ensure that all values (recreation, quality of life, tourism, forestry etc.) and interests are considered and legally protected in the management of the Mt. Macpherson area. In the interim, we request that all logging activities affecting the Mt Macpherson recreation area are suspended until a workable, and publicly acceptable solution is found.
In addition to signing, please consider writing your government representatives a personal letter outlining your concerns:
Revelstoke City Council, email@example.com
Loni Parker, Area B Representative, Columbia Shuswap Regional District, firstname.lastname@example.org
Norm Macdonald, MLA Columbia-Revelstoke, email@example.com
Province of BC, FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca
Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Please click here to visit the petition’s page at change.org.