Stoney Hill blow-down harvest was very responsible

The actual logging sites have been portrayed as large clear-cuts and that just is not a fact.

Stoney Hill blow-down harvest was very responsible

Great news for our municipal residences. The Stoney Hill windfall recovery is complete and the site ready for planting!

I am proud to have been a resident of this municipality for over 40 years and having had both the memorable opportunity to work with great people in the forestry department back in the 80s as a forest technician and now on an actual harvest program in a managed stand that was thinned and cared for all these years. North Cowichan really does have some of the best managed forests in the country!

There has been much said about this and other harvest plans in North Cowichan and I do appreciate the various views of how best to care for, make use of and manage our forests. There are however some inconvenient facts that have been omitted by some of the opponents that may lead to a misunderstanding of what is so.

The actual logging sites have been portrayed as large clear-cuts and that just is not a fact. On the drive to the logging sites one must drive on Stoney Hill Road which was recently upgraded and paved and doubles as residential access and a powerline corridor to the residences. These recent developments resulted in a much larger harvest than what was completed in the storm damaged timber. The Stoney Hill powerline corridor and roadway here — as in our residential areas — will likely never grow trees and native shrubs again. The windfall salvaged areas will be planted and look amazing again in just a few years, as it has done in the recent past!

I have logged throughout the B.C. coast, the interior of B.C. and into the amazing Yukon. I have observed logging practices in Sweden, Germany and the U.S. The Stoney Hill project was professionally planned and executed and is a match for what I have seen in other areas of the world.

Interface areas pose a very real fire risk to people. I have fought forest fires for over 20 years and fought on the 2006 fire that threatened the community of Chase. This was the same fire season in which a portion of Kelowna was devastated. This year I drove through the Paradise Valley in California. The city was essentially destroyed in a wild fire and many people died. The video I shot from the moving car clearly shows burned vehicles, water heaters and no buildings. Just foundation after foundation. People that watch this are often left silently horrified.

As long as our communities are surrounded by forests — and many of us live in close proximity of the municipal forests — we must be responsible for forest fire safety in two ways. That our activities do not cause fires, and that we manage the fire hazard around our forests. It was prudent to harvest the wind-fallen and damaged trees and reduce the fire fuel loading. This was high risk work our crews executed safely.

Particular thanks goes out to the many local residents that stopped and spoke with us and were supportive. Special thanks to the local utility arborists that assisted removing dangerous trees threatening the hydro lines, the local trucking company, the local workers that worked on or contributed to the project, and to our municipal forester, and to the mayor and council that must look to the future of what is best for the whole of our community.

Sig Kemmler

North Cowichan

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