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Groups protest logging in Qualicum Beach watershed

Oceanside Star, October 24, 2013

Groups protest logging in Qualicum Beach watershed
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Photo by TJ Watt

Rally against Island Timberlands

"Cathedral Grove, Canada’s most famous old-growth forest, is under threat as one of the province’s largest logging companies, Island Timberlands, began falling a new logging road right-of-way last week towards a stand of old-growth Douglas-fir trees on the mountainside above Cathedral Grove... Last week conservationists with the Port Alberni Watershed-Forest Alliance came across the new road construction activities. Fallers had cleared several hundred metres of a new logging road through a second-growth forest, heading towards a stand of old-growth Douglas firs where the planned logging will take place on Mount Horne."

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Vancouver Island conservation groups rallied in Cathedral Grove Tuesday against Island Timberlands' expansion of logging operations.

Almost 60 protesters rallied in the parking lot of Cathedral Grove, unfurling banners and leafletting tourists.

The groups included the Wilderness Committee Mid-Island Chapter based in Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni Watershed-Forest Alliance, Save the Day

based in Roberts Creek, Wildstands Alliance based on Cortes Island, Friends of Stillwater Bluffs near Powell River, and Ancient Forest Alliance based in Victoria.

"Island Timberlands is logging Labour Day Lake, which is a community recreation area and is the headwaters of the Cathedral Grove, the official drinking watershed for the Town of Qualicum Beach, and the community of Dashwood," said

Annette Tanner, Chair of the Mid-Island Wilderness Committee chapter based in Qualicum Beach. "We have been gathering petitions to stop the logging of the Cathedral Grove watershed since 2000."

The groups say Island Timberlands is logging and/or roadbuilding at McLaughlin Ridge, Juniper Ridge, Labour Day Lake, and the Cameron Valley Firebreak in the Port Alberni area; flagging Mount Horne, the mountainside above Cathedral Grove, for potential logging; plans to log the Stillwater Bluffs near Powell River and the Day Road Forest near Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast; and plans to log old-growth forests at Basil Creek and the Green Valley on Cortes Island.

Extremely rare groves of oldgrowth Coastal Douglas-firs, of which only 1% remain, constitute much of these contentious forest lands, they say.

"These corporate private lands were previously regulated to public land standards for over half a century in exchange for the BC government's granting of free Crown land logging rights to the companies," said Ken Wu, executive director of the Ancient Forest Alliance. "What has happened is that the regulations on private lands were removed recently, while the companies were still allowed to keep their Crown land logging rights."

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