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General News · 29th August 2022
Sonya Friesen

In my 40 yrs. of experience with “community consultation” in forest planning, better known as,” log and talk”, even if the logging company is the Cortes Forest General Partnership, the most important thing to hold to is, logging roads should not be built with out detailed plan maps. Plans that show what will be protected, the cut block locations, volumes to be cut and % retention of trees to be left within and around those blocks, as well as approximated long-term cut block plans to understand the reasoning of rd. locations in balance with their environmental and financial costs.

If the road gets built into the Anvil Lake watershed this fall, we will have no opportunity to change course, this rd. will be permanent, and the costs will need to be paid by the number of trees cut.

The Anvil watershed that drains into the lake is small approx. only 90 ha. On this small island a lake is a very important ecosystem. Water is precious and all species will seek refuge from global heating. I think leaving alone a recovering lake ecosystem will protect more life, than logging it again under the guise of fire safety.

The Anvil watershed has one of the very few pockets on the island where the sensitive inventory data indicates 30% old forest. While walking the area I have noted these maps are missing small wetlands, feeder streams and noted there are Old/ big trees scattered through out both the Anvil Lake and Gorge rd. wetland watersheds. A few are large 1.7m in diameter, others average 1.3m. Even if the CFGP does not plan to cut the old trees, the rd. passes very close to some, and it will impact them, the wetlands and the other connected systems they support.
The area also has many standing and fallen old snags, they stabilize the ground, hold the water, and add to the richness of the small valley sites between the rock bluffs surrounding the lake. It is a wild place that is just recovering from past logging with enough old forest structure remaining to provide a wide range of habitat for many species, likely even endangered ones. The neighbours describe Anvil as a wilderness lake because they see and hear the wildlife, and very rarely see people, mainly because it is not easy to get there. The new road will make access easy, bringing more humans and all our stuff, including campfires and dogs. Two of the four potential cut areas are planned within the creek/wetland/ riparian area sloping down to the lake, this will surely have a negative impact on the areas collective water, water, water
Because of these concerns and more that others have raised, I am hoping others will join in asking the CFGP to
1. Not build the road this fall
2. Take this time to develop a new 5 yr. plan.
3. Consider protecting all the Community Forest portion of the Anvil watershed.
4. Add protected connected wildlife corridors/ big tree nodes and missing wetlands to the other CF area in the adjacent Anvil area watersheds prior to any rd. building or harvesting.

Note In the old 2000 draft ecosystem-based management plan the protected landscape network included most of the Anvil watershed.

Part of the reasoning given for logging this area is for wildfire mitigation. The SRD/Blackwell and assoc. wildfire mitigation plan recommends a huge landscape firebreak that includes all the wetland/riparian area draining into the lake. Although the CFGP is not planning on doing this at this time, regardless it is still used as part of the reasoning for logging. See the wildfire plan on the CFGP documents page website.

Note the wildfire risk maps show no high-risk areas within the Anvil Lake watershed. The identified high-risk areas are within the Gorge rd. watershed with a large area on east side of the Gorge rd. and some on the west.

Many of us on the walks question this plan but we are obviously not experts, however many of the same RPF experts who sign off on these wildfire plans also sign off on BC’s, destructive forest practises and unsustainable annual allowable cut rates. I hope others take time to review this wildfire plan.

I ask the CFGP to consider fire mitigation planning that starts first with acknowledging there are real fire risks caused by logging itself, both in the short and long term. This should be one of our major precautionary planning considerations. One of this years high fire risk areas is likely the CFGP clear cut in the Von Donop block, followed by the older30 to 40 yr. old plantations that have been identified now and in the past as high-risk areas.

More re Anvil CFGP tour

I attended the CFGP tours of the potential rd. and logging. Below is some of what I learnt.

The road starts across from highways yard crosses a creek and across the slope and another small creek near a few very large old trees draining from wetlands above the proposed rd. The neighbors mentioned the amount of water that runs down that slope to gorge rd. could be a concern with the new road. The rd. then continues down another tiny valley with some more old vets and then on into the Anvil watershed joining onto what was the old skid rd. right beside the wetland which is now the trail.
On the walk four potential cut block areas were identified. The first area is beside a small wetland with a few very large old mother trees close by, the other in an area of young hemlock, both these blocks are within the Gorge rd. wetland watershed. The other two blocks are in the Anvil Watershed. One block is at the west end of the large wetland, this is in the riparian area where the plan is to also log young mistletoe hemlock as fire mitigation treatment? The next block a bit further down the slope was identified as the “commercial saw log block “which is within the same valley between two steep slopes all collecting and connecting stream /riparian/wetlands draining to Anvil Lake.

After looking at the gov. vegetation resource information, it reports the logging history in these two specific blocks was in 1967, so some trees would be approx. 55 yrs. (third growth?) and the others are second growth that were left standing after the 1967 cut. It is a mixed age stand that is just starting to mature.

Other points shared on walks were, CFGP may not log the two-fire mitigation mistletoe hemlock blocks if log price drops too low. However, it was also said the merchantable sawlog block on slope down to lake would still be viable economically, so I would assume the volume of cut in that block near the lake is going to need be large enough to pay for the road and all the costs of logging.

I live within the forest community of Squirrel Cove on the unceded territories of the Klahoose, Tla'amin and Homalco First Nation. I honor their history of 10,000 years of knowledge learnt from time in place, and their respect for all natural systems kept in balance.

I know all our roads, lanes, house sites and gardens have negatively impacted the ecosystems we live within. We need to re think and re wild what we can.

Thankyou for taking the time to consider these points.
Sonya Friesen

The current CFGP Anvil area logging plan map shows the rd. and the one large pink polygon as the identified area of harvest. ( see on CFGP website )

I have made a map that approximates the road and potential cut block locations talked about on the CFGP tour in the area. ( see attached map below )