Trails were government-approved: SORCA
I wish to set the record straight with regards to the following statement by Jerry Kenna of B.C.Timber Sales (BCTS), which appeared in last week's Chief: "You have to appreciate that these trails were just built on Crown land, and were never approved." The Powerhouse Plunge was built with Forest Renewal B.C. funding and was completely approved by the Ministry of Forest (MoF) in 1995. Unfortunately, for the last seven years since the provincial government did away with the recreation division, the MoF has not had a process in place to approve new trail construction. Recently, however, there has been renewed interest in the government to re-establish a process and there are meetings coming up.
When SORCA approached the MoF to request access to the file concerning the Powerhouse Plunge we were told that somehow this file has gone missing from their records. Coincidence?
In regards to the set backs and logging road one only has to go up to the Skookum trail area and see just how wide a new logging road is. The width is similar to the width of Hwy. 99 between the RCMP building and the Adventure Centre. To experience what a 25-metre setback is like go to one of the power lines and walk in 25 metres, then go in another 25 metres and try to imagine the first 25 metres with about one tree every 700 square feet.
SORCA's issues with logging the Plunge are that the trail was approved by the MoF, paid for with government dollars, and it is one of the "signature" trails in Squamish. It is one of the only trails in the valley that gives the rider a deep woods experience. SORCA is not against logging. Heck, we recently met with BCTS and worked out details for another section of logging that is going to impact some of the trails above Alice Lake. In SORCA's 14 years of existence this is the first time we have ever spoken out against a logging operation.
The tourism industry is in its infancy in Squamish. This harvesting does nothing to enhance or provide growth for this industry. This stand of woods represents one of the last stands of harvestable timber that is left after the last 30 plus years of valley bottom to top of hill clearcuts. At one of our meetings a few years ago at the MoF offices we were told "pretty much all that is left in the Squamish area was guts and feathers." That's some legacy our fledgling tourism industry is going to have to deal with.Cliff Miller
President, Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association
Don't squander our assets
The Government of B.C. wants to log the forest surrounding the Powerhouse Plunge, one of signature trails of the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada and of the Squamish Test of Metal, one of the most popular mountain bike races in the world. Many members of the Squamish community, including the mayor, some councillors and the broad-based Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association, adamantly oppose the plan to log the area, which includes the construction of a logging road across the trail. Ironically, it was the provincial government back in the mid-1990s that approved the construction of the Plunge and even paid for a portion of the construction of the trail.
Squamish is known throughout the world as one of the best places anywhere for mountain biking. The economic transition of Squamish from a previously natural-resource extraction-based economy to more of a tourism-based economy has been difficult enough for many.
The short-term monetary profit, likely for a company not even from the Squamish area, of logging this proposed relatively small cutblock is overshadowed by the long-term economic benefit for the province and for Squamish, which has the opportunity to show the world that Squamish is indeed the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada and that it does not squander its natural assets.Ron Enns
RE: "Plunge concerns unfounded, says forest official," The Chief, Jan. 27:Mr. Kennah, you truly speak like a government employee as your statement of "There is never zero risk in anything you do in life" reminds me of how ignorant and arrogant politicians are. Why don't you leave this decision whether or not Squamish wants to take that risk up to the people of Squamish?
We don't need people that will take the risk of our drinking water on our behalf. How would you feel if logging would take place in your backyard with a risk of contaminating 80 per cent of the town's water supply? Any risk is unacceptable and once more the dollar sign is behind a decision like this.
When will logging companies finally start to understand that clear-cutting is a very destructive way of your "simple business"? The valleys around Squamish have seen their fare share of logging over decades now and I hope Squamish Council will take a tough stand here to put an end to this destruction regardless of crown land or not.Markus Schieck