bc forest alert

temperate rainf..., Mercredi, Mai 8, 2002 - 15:52


forest policy british columbia

In February, 2002, the Ministry of Forests (provincial agency) released their Service Plan for the years 2002 to 2005. As a rural resident and public forest advocate, this document stikes fear into my heart. It is yet another example of the short sightedness of the BC Liberal government's planning, another example of taking opportunities away from the public and giving to large corporations.

The Forest Service in British Columbia has been in existance since 1912, and it's mandate has been management of public forest, better known as "Crown" land. The "Ethics" of the Forest Service include sustainable use, stewardship and public service "to provide a continuous flow of benefits from forest and range lands for the physical, cultural and spiritual well-being of British Columbians". These principals are clearly stated at the beginning of the new forest Service Plan.

However, most of the Service Plan is aimed at making it easier for corporations to log in British Columbia, and this does not bode well for good logging practices, which compromises clean air and water, healthy fish and wildlife and quality of life for all British Columbians.

There are positive aspects to this document, such as a push for more of the timber taken from BC forests to be certified, and an enforceble forest practices code, but "[cutting] the forestry regulatory burden by one third within three years without compromising environmental standards" simply is not possible.

The five core functions of the forest Service Plan are: protection of forest and range assets, setting performance standards for forest and range practices, pricing and selling of timber and range use, compliance and enforcement (to the Forest Practices Code), and corporate services.

Ahh, the luxuries of a corporatist government, who can do such things as: "...divest [themselves] of the responsibilities for recreations sites and trails over [a] three year period" and get away with it. Who else can just decide to divest responsibilities?

The Service Plan goes on to explain that "The forest Service will no longer be responsible for funding the maintenance of Forest Service recreation sites and trails. All current Forest Service recreations sites and trails will be transferred to other agencies and organizations or closed by March 31, 2004."

Here are some statistics:

Number of forest services recreation sites managed by ministry in 2001/02: 1,240 and by 2003/2004, 0.

Number of forest services trails managed by ministry: in 2001/02: 650 and by 2003/2004, 0.

Number of forest services road bridges replaced by ministry: in 200/02: 37 and by 2002/2003, 0.

Today the forest service maintains 9,365 km of roads, by 2004/05, only 2000 km will be maintained.

Public forest land will no longer be accessible to the public, and B.C. will become the second jurisdiction in North America without interpretive programs in the forests (the other place is Mississippi).

So long "Beautiful British Columbia", tourism, wilderness trails, and cheap camping... You will be sorely missed.

check out the what the bc liberals chose to release about the forest services plan. link

just a note, mike dejong (forest minister) does not have an email address posted online, so you can't give feedback that way. the "contact us" link on the forest services plan page is only for information request and is not designed for feedback.

the "core review" for water land and air protection is just as upsetting...

a forest worth protecting near vancouver.

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