Stoney Hill: stumps speak for themselves

Much has been said by both the Municipality and Where Do We Stand (WDWS) about the number of live trees taken to harvest the scattered blowdown on Stoney Hill, but the stumps speak for themselves.

WDWS stated, “Hundreds of live trees have just been logged on Stoney Hill” and “It’s not the removal of damaged timber only.’” The mayor responded in the Citizen with the adage about “a lie getting half way around the world before the truth gets its pants on.” He then wrote that the contractor estimates one live tree was cut for every 15 blowdown trees.

After the logging, we took a systematic look at the facts on the ground.

What we did: In two (of five) cut-blocks located in the interior of the forest, four of us attempted to count live trees compared with blowdown taken. We walked in two lines abreast, stopping at intervals, counting according to: obvious live trees taken—stumps rooted; obvious blowdown taken: roots above ground, or in a horizontal position; uncertain: stumps upended but difficult to determine if blowdown or moved from elsewhere.

It was sometimes difficult to distinguish between the categories because of the amount of debris and what appeared to be the relocation of stumps and debris—our methodology was not an exact science.

What we found : In one cut-block we counted 159 “live tree stumps,” 37 blowdown stumps, eight uncertain. Excluding the eight uncertain stumps, this equals approx. four live trees taken for each blowdown tree. In the other cut-block, we counted 165 “live tree stumps,” 80 blowdown stumps, four uncertain. Excluding the four uncertain stumps, equals approximately two live trees taken for each blowdown tree.

Everything is about context. Numbers are one thing on the page, another in a forest. Two live trees to one fallen or leaning may not sound enormous; in reality, it’s half the forest. In Stoney Hill, in both sites, the canopies were intact before the salvage; now they aren’t; sun pours into areas that were moist and are now drying out fast.

In retrospect, Dec. 20, nature and the wind did a little pruning. The weak fell, the strong remained. Logs were placed on the ground to break down into habitat and soil. Nature did what it does best — created long-term resilience. But I digress.

To return to the mayor’s “lie,” the facts are on the ground, exposed — no pants (or trees) on the stumps. As stated by WDWS, hundreds of live tree have been logged; the exact number is debatable. Time to count together.

As for the purpose of salvage/logging Stoney Hill, the question remains: Did we achieve the stated objective of decreasing fire risk and beetles? In many places there is more small flammable debris on the ground than before logging — to the eye it looks like a greater fire risk now. As for bugs — this is a whole other debate with evidence the public deserves access to.

The best that can be said, at this point, is we now have more lessons to learn from our logging practices. It’s time to come together as a community — as stated by council — in a transparent, open, inclusive, accountable public consultation about where we are headed before more fire/salvage/logging decisions are made. There was no consultation on the salvage. It has created confusion and mistrust. The debate about fire mitigation and salvage will be ongoing—time for all sides to be heard.

Next Council meeting, August 21, 1:30 pm, is at the Ramada Inn, Duncan. Staff will present its proposal regarding UBC’s participation, public consultation and the forestry review. At the last UBC presentation, the five UBC experts repeatedly stressed the importance of not moving forward without consultation.

Prof. Stephen Sheppard said public consultation and forest management is like a “choreography, a dance…that should be in sync.” For more information, go to WhereDoWeStand.ca.

Icel Dobell

North Cowichan

Just Posted

Sculpture relocation plan works perfectly in Chemainus

Heavy lifting required to place Cline’s work into Heritage Square

VIDEO: Hoey and other Burma campaign veterans honoured at Cenotaph ceremony Aug. 14

The war in Burma against the Japanese was where Duncan’s only Victoria Cross winner lost his life

Tour to demonstrate mobile-seed cleaner to visit

Event scheduled for Aug. 23 at the Cowichan Agricultural Seed Hub

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island teen was discovered

Lack of consultation on Chemainus Road corridor project irks business owners, residents

Surprise expressed over change to anticipated North Cowichan plans

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Most Read