Truce called in logging dispute
Great news today! I hope this truce turns into real plans for real economic value through keeping the trees on their trunks, in their pristine forests.
A two-week truce has been called to cool a brewing dispute over logging a pristine rain forest in Vancouver Island's Clayoquot Sound.
The last-minute truce was called yesterday, on the day declared a deadline by environmentalists. They had given notice to two logging companies to get out of Clayoquot Sound or face blockades.
The break is intended to give environmentalists a chance to continue discussions with MaMook Natural Resour-ces Ltd. and Coulson Forest Products, said chief executive officer Wayne Coulson.
"Dialogue is good, right?" said Coulson from his Port Alberni office yesterday. "Everybody needs to re-engage in the history and hopefully everybody will find a way through this."
MaMook is owned by local First Nations while Coulson Forest Products has headquarters in Port Alberni. Clayoquot Sound is on the west coast of Vancouver Island and includes land between Bark-ley and Nootka Sounds. Tofino is within the area.
Coulson said he's optimistic a peaceful resolution is possible. Environmentalists also seem cautiously optimistic.
Stephanie Goodwin of Greenpeace said yesterday there has been an effort over the weekend to come up with a way to reach a meaningful resolution "because nobody wants to be in a place of conflict."
The environmentalists and forest companies focused discussions yesterday on developing a framework for future discussions, Goodwin said. "We're hopeful," she said.
Maryjka Mychajlowycz of the Friends of Clayoquot Sound said yesterday she felt there were opportunities to avoid a head-on conflict with forest companies. "We want to give that a full chance to succeed. ... We are hopeful, we are optimistic."
The valley became a world focus in 1993 when 12,000 protesters gathered there. The 350,000-hectare area known as Clayoquot Sound was named a United Nations Biosphere Reserve in 2000. Still, some logging is allowed.
The Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices in Clayoquot Sound, implemented by the B.C. government in July 2005, "is probably the most stringent eco-based forest management in North America," said Coulson. "It's there to protect the old-growth forest ecosystem and if we can't make it work here it will never work anywhere. Everyone has a responsibility to make it work."
In March, MaMook and Coulson began cutting trees to build a logging road in Hesquiiat Point Creek, one of a dozen watersheds in Clayoquot that have never been logged. Construction was halted in May.
A rally is planned for noon Saturday at Main and Third streets in Tofino, where the Friends of Clayoquot Sound will call for conservation of Clayoquot Sound.