WHA – Wildlife Habitat Area to be Logged
It has been said that the Chilliwack River Valley will be completely logged over the next 10 years unless excessive resource extraction is stopped! Unsightly cut blocks are moving closer into view every year, as timber matures along the roadside. Tourists to our area are increasingly dumbfounded why we would allow such devastation to the valley’s natural beauty. The time to preserve more of this valley is NOW, before the remaining wild beauty is completely lost.
Amazingly, the current BC Government has arbitrarily changed the rules for previously protected WHA’s with no visible protest from the previous minister of the environment and local MLA Barry Penner, now giving Tamihi the green light to log mature stands of designated Owl Habitat Forest in the CRV.
Only 20% of trees in 3 cut blocks inside the Chilliwack River Valley WHA will remain standing. 80% will be cut down. At an open meeting in May of 2011, Tamihi logging also confirmed that some of the remaining 20% may be blown down due to future wind events, once supporting trees are removed. All this unnecessary devastation of magnificent owl forest that took mother nature many, many years to produce, will employ only a handful of workers for approximately 3 weeks, according to Tamihi Logging.
The Chilliwack River Valley with its burgeoning tourism economy has become the playground for the lower mainland – but we are now at a crossroads. There are now thought to be less than a dozen spotted owls hanging on in their fragmented Canadian old-growth forest habitat in southwestern BC. According to the BC Ministry of Environment’s own publication, “The Northern Spotted Owl is a valuable barometer of the integrity and health of old-growth ecosystems“.
Resource extraction now dangerously outweighs attempts to protect this valley’s natural beauty and the needs of an increasing eco-tourism economy. Outdated resource extraction ideology of decades past is no longer sustainable for this valley, if we are to safeguard any claim to “Super Natural BC” for the approximate 1 million recreation visitors per year, that support the local economy during their visits.
These cut blocks, and more WHA’s (142 Hectares) also slated for logging on Ford Mountain, are in direct proximity to local hiking trails, scenic water falls, wild goat populations, deer, endangered species grizzly, and will create an unsightly entrance to the Chilliwack Lake Park. These areas to be logged were set aside for the endangered northern spotted owl that is now on the verge of extirpation (complete destruction) in BC. According to the federal government Species at Risk web site, “Continued habitat degradation caused by logging . . . is one of the primary threats to the caurina (Spotted Owl) subspecies in Canada“. British Columbia has no stand-alone endangered species act.