ELF 2018 End of Year Report

Dear ELF Supporters,

It’s been a full and productive year for ELF. We’d like to share with you a summary of our efforts in this 2018 End of Year Report.

In Alberta they live in what could be characterized as an Oil State where many believe what is good for that industry is good for all. In B.C. we live in a Timber State, meaning the cards are stacked in the timber industry’s favour when it comes to ensuring that adequate forest biodiversity and habitat are set aside for the future.  For example, in the Forest Range and Practices Act, which guides forestry regulation, there’s the proviso when it comes to conservation that objectives “cannot unduly restrict the timber supply”.  In other words, when the Chief Forester sets the 5 year ‘annual allowable cut’ for each Forest District, conservation measures cannot reduce the amount of timber that each Forest District Manager is mandated to cut – unless he or she wants to get fired. So that’s a big constraint we work under.

This past year has seen several successes and gains, and one setback – the logging of The Chanterelle Forest. You probably saw that ELF put a lot of resources into that campaign and it was tough to see it destroyed for the almighty buck, when its natural assets were much higher. For example, the Roosevelt Elk herd that sheltered under this forest during the winter have now had to reroute to other areas. We see that the destruction of Elk habitat as a form of ‘harassment’ which is illegal under the Wildlife Act.

Earlier this year, ELF’s complaint to the Forest Practices Board around logging of ‘The Twist & Shout Forest’ (A87125) resulted in the Board supporting all of our claims, even going as far as saying that “In the Board’s view, there were valid occurrences of at-risk plant communities in timber sale A87125 that warranted consideration for protection”.  This provincially supported agency made 3 recommendations to BCTS and government to improve management of At-risk forest ecosystems (such as Western red cedar – sword fern, Western red cedar – foamflower, western hemlock – flat moss communities) and we’re delighted to share with you that after some back & forth it appears that the government will be identifying these ecosystems on the ground and implementing wider protection measures in BC.  

In 2018 we saw continued deferral of several BCTS blocks that ELF has been defending for several years. The Clack Creek Forest could have been logged in 2014, but we keep bringing forward new information from ‘ground-truthing’ measures. The Reed Rd Forest was supposed to be logged in 2015, but again we and local residents kept bringing to light the importance of maintaining its forest integrity. We also hired a leading forest ecologist (Allen Banner, RPBio, RPF – ret.) to conduct ecological assessments for both the Clack Creek and Reed Rd Forests to help move these campaigns towards protection. He recommended to government greater conservation measures in these and the larger area.

The Dakota Bowl Bear Sanctuary was supposed to be sold and logged in 2016, however our research on identifying bear dens and culturally modified trees (CMTs) brought logging to a halt.  BCTS countered with their own assessment flatly refuting ELF’s archaeologist’s findings.  Finally, the Director of the Archaeology Branch in Victoria made a decision in favour of ELF’s archaeologist confirming the findings met the scientific proof of CMT (culturally modified tree) identification.  That block is deferred until 2020 so our efforts will continue.

In 2018 we saw the owners of Sunshine Coast Community Forest (District of Sechelt) undertake an extensive public consultation process. This was triggered by ELF’s court challenge of SCCF logging of The Chanterelle Forest.  Results of that consultation have been presented to the new Sechelt Council to help them (hopefully) set new forest management guidelines protecting sensitive ecosystems amongst other progressive initiatives. The Forest Practices Board also agreed with ELF’s claim that stream side instability (landslides) in the Wilson Creek Watershed, could have been affected by logging with an investigation is currently underway.

We were also closely monitoring logging activities by Surespan (North Vancouver) in the Chapman Creek Drinking Watershed.  The agency that oversees logging on private lands, is proceeding on an investigation after ELF brought forward evidence regarding a break in riparian setbacks.  

For the Day Rd Forest campaign, we installed an information kiosk at the end of Day Rd. to keep people up to date on Island Timberlands’ logging plans. Visitors can record wildlife sightings, be added to a mailing list, etc. We surveyed a large historic floodplain alongside Roberts Creek, and wrote a report to The Nature Trust of BC highlighting the biodiversity in the area with a recommendation that this agency begin discussions with IT on a possible land purchase.  

In 2018 there were over 30 media articles published regarding Sunshine Coast forestry issues and ELF’s involvement. We also sponsored a number of advertorials and announcements in the local papers ourselves. 

We continue to submit significant trees that we have found and measured on the lower Sunshine Coast to the Big Tree Registry (maintained by UBC Forestry Department). Several new trail routes were completed in 2018, including the now well used Red Cedar Trail located along Field Rd.

We encourage all concerned about the state of the environment to belong to at least one global or national organization and also local groups such as ELF.  We have only one chance to protect our forests, because once clearcut and converted to tree farms, they aren’t coming back.  We may not win every battle, but we’re making ground.  In our 9-year history we’ve stopped 3 large blocks from being logged – turned into protected areas with another 3 being deferred.  Our big campaign to expand the Mt. Elphinstone Provincial Park from 140ha to 2,100Ha (5X the size of Stanley Park) will be ongoing into 2019.

We ask for your generous support going into 2019 by committing to a monthly donation amount. Using the PayPal option on our website, please select a monthly amount you’re comfortable with.

Thank you so much, your kind support will allow us to plan ahead for our future campaigns.

Happy Holidays!

The forest elves of ELF 

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