Yep, you heard it right. Whistler to begin logging, in many spots that will make things suck. Here's what's going down, first good, then the bad:
1. Whistler/Squamish/Pemby + First Nations now have control over their forests. This means local politicos can at least try to make better decisions than those made in the past, when the entire area was cut to ground, and which took about 75 years to recover. Since the logging heydays, the entire Sea-to-Sky corridor is now nearly entirely tourism based or related to it, meaning that logging has very little economic value.
2. However, under the Community Forest tenure agreement our local governments have to log a certain amount per year - "about 40 hectares of forest" [new info: 20,000 m3 per year. At an average of 500 m3/ha, that harvest volume equals around 40 ha]. That's a lot of trees. For that, they get a measly $30, 000 - $50,000. Yep, that's it, small change in this town or any town for that matter. This logging includes old growth in the fragile sub and high alpine because the second-growth won't be ready to log for a few more years. It includes logging of existing bike trails, ski touring areas, heli- and snowmobile terrain, and hiking terrain.
Where exactly will logging take place?
Well I went to an info session last week to find out. Pictures here.
a) Logging is currently slated to take place among established WORCA x-country mountain bike trails Comfortably Numb/Young Lust/Green Lake Loop above Green Lake; Trainwreck south of Function Junction; and Runaway Train and the Sea-to-Sky Trail in the Calcheak/Chek areas. Proposed logging cuts will disrupt and possibly destroy sections of these trails and call for their rerouting and rebuilding. Enduro events such as the BC Bike Race, Cheakamus Challenge, Comfortably Numb run etc. will be adversely affected by these logging operations.
b) Logging is slated to take place in the Callaghan Valley close to the established Nordic Centre trail network, and close to if not in the area of Khyber Pass on Whistler mountain above Cheakamus, where lots of us love to go ripping down in winter…
Obviously this leaves a lot of "huh? wtf?" questions which is what mostly everyone in the Sea-to-Sky and the media is saying (see below). This isn't bullshit hippy "I love trees" opposition (I like them in my fireplace too). This is "I love our local economy based on natural tourism" opposition that has us all wondering why we don't pause logging for a few years, slow down, and wait for more advantageous second growth. This is opposition that YouTube - 2010 Whistler opposition to oldgrowth logging TV News Story (ski touring, heli-skiing, biking, snowmobiling, etc). Tourism Whistler has also expressed guarded concern over the adverse impact of logging.
Get the info below, but here's the quick of it:
SO, you are an avid outdoor maggot, you like Whistler, write in to our local papers and Mayor telling us how much you'd prefer it that the next time you visit Whistler, bike trails weren't closed/destroyed thanks to logging and that old growth remained in and around the areas you recreate in:
Write the Mayor: whistlermayor [at] whistler.ca
Articles / info:
The real value of B.C.'s old-growth forests (Vancouver Sun) // great piece that discusses economic value of old growth for carbon offset sales
Logging the Sea-to-Sky: Cutting the Economy? // my own research into impact upon WORCA bike trails [HTML_REMOVED] local recreation tourism