Monday, April 21, 2008

Unintended Consequences

While I, like many others in the Pacific Northwest welcomed the demise of old-growth logging, I did not ever wish to see the entire industry disappear from our region. For one thing, we need wood products. We need to keep our rural economies viable and we need to stop importing timber from developing countries that have less regard to preserving old-growth forests than we did a couple of decades ago. But this is a global market with so many ramifications. In British Columbia, a similar saga is happening to many parts of their timber economy. The old pulp mill at Woodfibre is now defunct. Defunct after being in operation since 1912. So while the forests around Squamish are no longer being aggressively logged liked they were in the 1990s a new threat is taking over the area-summer home proliferation. More and more of our timberlands throughout Washington and British Columbia is being withdrawn from production and chopped up to sport mini-mansions, golf courses, retirement communities and big imposing structures for people that have too much money. Ironically many of the buyers of these homes consider themselves to be environmentalists and they were more than happy to see the timber industry go into decline. What a shame. I'll take a managed forest any day than suburbia encroaching upon our last wilds. Will this trend continue? Will America ever start producing its own wood products again? Is Canada heading down the same path? Look around.
(photo-ferry to Woobfibre no more)

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