Why The Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) has the word "Community" in it is beyond me. The Whistler community was never consulted when the decision by the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), the two first nations groups and the BC government was made to strip our forests of 250 to 1,000 year old trees for the next 25 years by Richmond Plywood.
If these living, breathing, majestic ancient trees were instead, mere 100 plus year old homes or building structures, the local and regional historical societies would be registering, restoring and protecting them for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.
These societies may even turn a few of them into museums in order to share their architectural history and provide tours to schools and tour groups. Heck, the owners might even get a tax break.
The trees that are slated to be harvested started to grow in the medieval times; the Middle Ages.
These trees in our backyard are older than many of the European cathedrals that are so cherished and protected. The Notre Dame Cathedral is a world heritage sight that was completed in 1345.
There are trees in our own backyard that are older than that. Almost half of the trees of the CCF are old growth.
Why are we not treating these national treasures or monuments with the same respect? We humans, in our infinite wisdom, have stripped 90% of BC's old growth with 10% remaining in our so called "Super Natural British Columbia."
Isn't that Tourism BC's slogan or pitch? Why are we destroying what we, as a tourist community market to the world? Will we be no longer known as Beautiful British Columbia?
We are not only permanently destroying the environment or "product" that we market, with our greed and short sighted mentality, our increasingly challenged Mother Earth will be never be given the chance to build forests like the ones we are presently destroying.
We are not allowing it. We won't allow it. We already know that second growth has only one purpose or use - that it is to be harvested. We are temporarily capitalizing on what will be permanent and irreversible destruction.
Shouldn't the oldest trees in the world remain our "claim to fame" and be considered our national treasure to be proud of? What about all the eco-businesses in the area that pay taxes and bring in huge amounts of local revenue?
I am in the tourism business as a volunteer and I can't tell you how many times our international guests/tourists ask where they can experience these "one of a kind" forests? They are world renowned.
I think most British Columbians understand that one of our most valuable natural resources is our timber industry. But it is reasonable and possible to harvest second growth and leave the oldest treasures in tact?
We do not have to destroy what can not be replaced. These trees have withstood the test of time and deserve our protection and respect.
We need to somehow expand the CCF boundaries to satisfy the ridiculous quota that the provincial Campbell Crusaders have challenged our forests and local politicians with.
From an economic standpoint, we gain next to nothing monetarily. It's just a quota that the BC government has thrown at this community and we as a community have to fill it regardless of how unrealistic it is.
Yes, the RMOW managed to reduce the quota but the ancients are still coming down. Our "leaders" have not done enough to protect our national heritage.
The scientific, environmental and clean air reasons for protecting these trees has been documented in several journals, papers, etc. so I won't go into it here.
But leaving trees are about the most natural way of taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. And Mayor and council talk about reducing our carbon footprint? Prove it.
Your grandchildren are destined to read about these forests and see pictures but not be able to experience and touch them as we have. They are headed toward extinction with so few left. This should matter to everyone.
The Vancouver Sun's Top Ten List of most popular non-fiction books this week includes "The Global Forest." What a great book.
People obviously love their forests and care enough to put this book at the top of their list as a must read. But now is the time to speak up before it's too late.
DO SOMETHING NOW! If you don't do something soon, or speak out, or write letters, these spiritual places on earth will become extinct; it will be a permanent and very sad loss for the world, for Whistler and for BC's natural heritage. This will be our generation's legacy. Whistler Watch www.whistlerwatch.org is a good local resource. Start there...Just start somewhere before it's too late.