The company that holds the forest license that would allow logging to two stands of thousand-year-old cedar deep in the Duncan River valley says that the trees will stay standing – for now.
In September, a group calling themselves the ‘Duncan Defenders’ launched an offensive against potential logging of the two remaining old-growth stands totaling about 1,000 trees at 58 and 59 kilometre marks to the Duncan Lake Road north of Kaslo – after they spotted flagging tape on the trees earlier this year.
Initially Kaslo-based Blue Ridge Timber, the company that is managing the forest license of the now-defunct Meadow Creek Cedar, told the Defenders that there were indeed plans to log the trees.
But recently Dak Giles, forestry operations manager for Blue Ridge, told The Nelson Daily that they are no longer planning to log the trees – at least anytime soon.
“We were looking at it earlier this year,” Giles said. “But based on quite a few factors I don’t think it would be wise of us to put in cutting permits for those blocks for quite a while.”
Giles said the reaction of the Defenders, who launched an international petition on Change.org that currently has 436 signatures, has ultimately changed their mind on the logging plans.
“We considered what they said they might do if we try to initiate (cutting permits),” Giles noted. “We thought about the economic consequences of their actions and what it would cost us if we had to go the route of an injunction. It’s not really worth it.
“We want to maintain as good a relationship as we can with everyone. And for that bit of cedar, I can appreciate their concern with the old growth stands up there. there’s not a lot of them left.”
When asked if there is potential for the trees to be logged eventually, Giles said it’s hard to say.
“Definitely not in the next few years,” he said. “It all depends on how everything goes. I think as long as we have suitable stands elsewhere it’s not worth it.”
Cedars that are thousands of years old like the ones in question are mostly dead and relatively hollow on the inside, but it there is at least six inches of good wood along the outside they can be turned into high-value clear cedar lumber that’s sought after because it’s free of knots, Giles explained.
‘Business as usual’, say the Defenders
Gabriela Grabowsky, spokesperson for the Duncan Defenders, says Giles’ response rings hollow for her.
“ His response is just business as usual,” Grabowsky said. “This response is not good enough.”
She adds that only an old grown management plan put in place by the province that protects the old growth cedar will be enough to convince her these trees will never be logged.
“Our generation has no moral right to destroy these (trees),” she notes. “Future generations will love and need them just like we and the animals do . . . Somehow we need to get the population’s voices to the politicians to change laws to include protecting old growth," Grabowsky explains.
"The laws always go in favour of the corporations bent on resource extraction. This has happened enough in our neck of the wood. The Duncan Reservoir destroyed many of the ancient trees; logging did the rest.
“There seems to be no official old growth management plan for this area and that means what’s left can be on a hit list whenever. That needs to change.”