It is vitally important that anyone who values our provincial parks attend the open house at the Ag Hall on Thursday May 29th and make their voices heard. It may seem like the Seabird Island/Tamihi Logging proposal to allow a few logging trucks to run through Sasquatch Park is a minor issue and that the trucks will not really impact the public’s enjoyment of the park. In reality the situation is much more complicated and threatening.
Firstly, now that the provincial government has made park ‘boundary adjustments’ possible there has been a rush to explore possible ‘adjustments’ for pipelines, hydro lines, and such things as a mining road and independent power production. One possible ‘adjustment’, near Oliver B.C., is for a provincial prison. The proposal for the Sasquatch Park ‘adjustment’ may be joined locally by a proposal for Bridal Falls Provincial Park (for Kinder-Morgan pipeline expansion). Further afield there are some 30 ideas for park boundary adjustments under consideration. It well may be that future proposals will include mining, and other developments.
Secondly, the current proposal may be small in scale but once the roads are taken out of the park, there is nothing to stop other timber companies from using the same roads to haul many more truckloads through the park. The Chilliwack Forest District has stated there is much more timber in the area than the current proposal accounts for. It is important to understand that once the roads are taken out of the park, there is no going back.
Thirdly, this proposal as well as all others, violates the principle that parks should be free of development. British Columbia is a resource rich province and has made accommodation for that fact. But many years ago, it was recognized that if we did not protect some lands from development, the entire province would be subject to resource extraction. So, lands were set aside for parks and the rest of the province remained open for business. We must value our parks for their habitat protection, wilderness experiences and places for rest and recuperation. If we let parks be downgraded for ‘economic reasons’ there is no stopping the process. We must stand up for our parks.
All this is not to say the proposed logging south of Sasquatch Park should be disallowed. Another access route can be developed, there are many old logging roads in the area. It may take more money and work to find another route to take the logs out but it will be well worth it.
Hope to see you at the public meeting on the 29th.