AFA campaigner and photographer TJ Watt looks up at an ancient red cedar tree more than 10 feet in diameter before and after logging by Teal-Jones in the Caycuse watershed in Ditidaht Territory on southern Vancouver Island. (Submitted photo)

Environmental group calls on province to preserve old-growth forests

Points to clear cutting along Haddon Creek as shocking

Conservationists with the Ancient Forest Alliance are urging the province to immediately halt logging in B.C.’s most at-risk old-growth forests.

The alliance also wants the Horgan NDP government to commit funding for old-growth protection following the destruction of some of Vancouver Island’s grandest ancient forests along Haddon Creek in the Caycuse River watershed.

On an exploration to the area earlier this month, AFA campaigner and photographer TJ Watt visited and photographed the fallen remains of a grove of ancient red cedars he’d first explored and documented in April while the trees were still standing.

The expeditions resulted in stark before-and-after images of the once-towering giants.

Watt said it was an incredible and unique grove.

“I was stunned by the sheer number of monumental red cedars, one after another, on this gentle mountain slope,” he said.

“Giant cedars like these have immense ecological value, particularly as wildlife habitat, and important tourism and First Nations cultural value. Yet, the B.C. government continues to allow irreplaceable, centuries-old trees to be high-graded for short-term gain while they talk about their new old-growth plan.”

Located southwest of Cowichan Lake and east of Nitinat Lake in Ditidaht First Nation territory, the Caycuse watershed hosts some of the grandest forests on the south Island, rivalling the renowned Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew or the Walbran Valley.

The now clear-cut grove was part of a 33.5-hectare cut block near Haddon Creek, located in Tree Farm Licence 46, which is held by logging company Teal Jones Group.

New roads are also being built into adjacent old-growth, which will see more of B.C.’s iconic big tree forests logged.

Earlier this year, the province appointed an independent panel to conduct a strategic review of B.C.’s old-growth management policies.

The final report, released in September, contains 14 recommendations including immediate steps to protect B.C.’s most endangered old-growth ecosystems within six months and a paradigm shift in the province’s forest management regime that prioritizes biodiversity and ecosystem integrity.

On the campaign trail in October, the NDP promised to implement all 14 recommendations in their entirety.

As a first step, the province also announced two-year logging deferrals in nine areas covering 353,000 hectares, but only 3,800 hectares, or about one per cent of the deferred areas, consist of previously unprotected, productive old-growth forest.

“With less than three per cent remaining of B.C.’s original, big-tree old-growth forests, the NDP government must work quickly, as soon as cabinet is sworn in this week, to engage Indigenous nations, whose unceded lands these are, and enact further deferrals in critical areas while a comprehensive old-growth strategy is developed,” said AFA campaigner Andrea Inness.

The AFA is also calling for significant funding to be allocated in the province’s budget for 2021 to facilitate negotiations with First Nations on additional deferral areas and to support Indigenous protected areas, Indigenous-led land-use planning, and economic diversification in lieu of old-growth logging, as well as the purchase and protection of old-growth forests on private lands.

First Nations leaders, including the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, are also demanding the province work with them to expand deferrals in threatened old-growth forests and provide First Nations with dedicated funding to protect and steward their lands while pursuing conservation-based businesses and economies, as outlined in a UBCIC resolution passed in September.

“The B.C. NDP has promised sweeping changes by implementing all of the old-growth panel’s recommendations,” said Inness.

“Now they need to put their money where their mouth is by fully funding Indigenous-led old-growth conservation and the transition to a sustainable, value-added, second-growth forest industry. Otherwise we can expect more irreplaceable groves like the one in the Caycuse watershed to be destroyed.”

forestry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: Time to slow down to speed up

In a society where we learn (are forced?) to multitask like crazy

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Shawnigan Lake School. (Citizen file photo)
Island Health reports COVID-19 exposure at Shawnigan Lake School

Shawnigan Lake School has been added to the list of schools in… Continue reading

Peas are great to grow in the garden, but a trellis for them in an A frame shape will offer more portability and wind resistance. (Citizen file)
Mary Lowther column: Making a foldable pea trellis on winter agenda

My previous methods required starting anew every spring

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Books open up a world of discovery

We try to eat dinner as a family every night. It happens… Continue reading

The Cowichan Tribes’ gymnasium at 5574 River Road is now operating as an extreme weather shelter. (Submitted photo)
New extreme weather shelter opens on River Road in Duncan

New facility should relieve some pressure on Warmland House

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Most Read