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Mike Moore of Misty Isles at the new log dump on Maurelle Island
General News · 21st August 2013
Carrie Saxifrage
Hole in the Wall, Okisollo Channel, Prideaux Haven, Pendrell Sound, Sonora Island.... for thousands of people, these names evoke some of the best fun summer can offer: kayaking world famous tidal rapids; sport fishing at legendary lodges; watching orcas and grizzly bears in the wild; following trails through salal thickets to hidden lakes; anchoring in coves full of brilliant sea life and swimming in the warmest ocean water north of Mexico while gazing at snow covered peaks.

Sixteen provincial marine parks invite exploration of the waters between central Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland. And those who explore them drive the local economies of the Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound. Fishermen, water taxi operators, airport shuttles, kayak rentals, craftspeople, fishing guides, charter boat operators, B&Bs, farmers, restaurants, camping supply stores, museums, marinas, yacht clubs – they all await the heydays of July and August.

According to the Discovery Islands Marine Tourism Group, tourists generate over $45 million each year and employ 1,200 people in the Discovery Islands alone. Add to this the business brought in by up to 250 yachts that anchor each night in Prideaux Haven, and all the other yachts anchored in other bays, and you get the economic activity that enables hundreds of rural families to live where they do. Those families count their blessings to live in place abundant with the wonders of nature yet well within reach of major population centers like Vancouver and Seattle. In fact, the economic benefits of tourism in the area might far outpace the economic benefits of forestry, the historic economic mainstay. But there’s a lot of logging on public lands at highly visible locations in this magnetic summer playground, and more planned for the fall.

Jack Springer of Campbell River Whale Watching has a primarily European clientele. “It’s very difficult to explain to them what is going on here,” he said. “They love our wildlife and scenery, but shake their heads at the way our forests are being harvested.” Springer is among the tourism operators and associated businesses that are asking, why does logging still trump tourism in the Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound?

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