A win-win in our woods?

Cobble Hill – I would like to express my gratitude to Rob Douglas and Roger Hart for writing the series of articles on Cowichan’s economic future. Thank you for beginning what I hope becomes a meaningful discussion.

As an owner of a small construction company here specializing in working with heavy timber, I’d like to offer a few thoughts on how we might take the “buy local” concept to the next level.

An acquaintance from Northern California has been involved in a project of the Yuba Watershed Institute called the ‘Inimim Forest. The agreement reached around an 1,800 acre parcel between the institute and the Bureau of Land Management “calls for the restoration of the ‘Inimim Forest to an old-growth condition, management of its timber on an ecologically sustainable yield basis, and protection of wildlife, cultural, historical, recreational, educational and scenic values of this forest.”

With a small grant, lots of fortitude on the part of local politicians, and a bunch of volunteer work, this project is successful beyond expectations 20-plus years on. Using the ‘Inimim as an example, I wonder if there is opportunity to pursue such a plan here, perhaps beginning with our municipal forests – advancing the management plans they already have in place? It seems to me our local government could take a leadership role in preserving the environment while incentivizing the creation of good paying jobs sustainably harvesting, then locally processing the wood to finished goods. Might we find a win-win lurking in our woods?

Chris Koehn

Cobble Hill