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#59 Waste not, waste not

September 15th, 2016

Hi darlin’:

There’s an election coming soon … I’m not really deeply convinced elections can change very much.  Seems as if no matter who you vote for the damned government always wins!

Meanwhile, some First Nations folks from the Moachat-Muchalat in Gold River were fishing in the Canton when a couple of men, supposedly from Tahsis, showed up to protest and argue. There was shouting, yelling, threats, the usual. Then the two left and the FN folks heard the sound of smashing glass. Windshields on a couple of pickup trucks had been smashed.

RCMP are involved now but I doubt charges will be laid. And that’s a shame because this business of taking the law into our own hands has got to stop. The law allows fishing by FN for food and ceremonial purposes. What it doesn’t allow is bozo behaviour and smashed windshields.

There are three deer in the trailer park here which are so tame I call them “yard rats.” They eat my lilies. They’re here so much my old dog doesn’t even pay any attention to them. As soon as they disappear, you can be sure it’s because the cougar has come back to this part of her territory. They were gone for a couple of weeks. The cougar was seen and some house cats disappeared, but thankfully no people were hurt. Now the yard rats are back so that probably means the cougar has moved on.

The logging company (Western Forest Products) is getting ready to clearcut down past the Leiner River, and to do this they are slamming through a road. They are blasting several times a day. No warning of any kind, just KER-POW, and the entire place shudders. Seems there might be old growth to be cut.

Doesn’t seem to matter that Oregon State University and U.S. Forest Service scientists have reported that old growth forests do a much better job of slowing climate change than second growth forests do. Not only are old growth stands much cooler in warm weather than even 40-year-old ‘mature’ forests, in winter they are slightly warmer. But let’s not worry about climate change, let’s just blow up the rockfaces, shove through roads and slice down the trees.  It’s jobs jobs jobs.

Drive along any highway or secondary road on this Island and you’ll probably see these big cone-shaped heaps of “slash”. Slash seems to be anything which isn’t big enough around to be commercially profitable. Some of these heaps have been standing like silent accusations for several years. Supposedly, ‘they’ plan on eventually burning them; and never mind that some places are restricting the use of barbeques because of air pollution problems; fill the sky with smoke as we burn burn burn the evidence of wasteful logging.

I used to, on occasion, pull off the road (some of us call it the goat track) and go down a side road to Canton Creek. Gorgeous valley, and the creek rushing noisily to rendezvous with the sea. Lots of elk track, sometimes the distinctive pile of bear scat, and birds, birds, birds. Often, if I sat quiet long enough, I’d see grouse, and someone once claimed to have seen a pheasant, but I never did.

Then the company went in and logged the Canton Valley. I don’t think I could have felt worse if some arstle had taken a road grader through the Provincial Museum. For quite a while I just could not make myself go down to see what was left, but not that long ago my son and I went down, followed the logging road through what was once a gorgeous valley rich with life. On every side the ‘slash’ just lay there, like pickup sticks, entire trees dropped and left because they were too small to be commercially valuable. Acres of it.  Miles of it.

I can only get so angry and then my eyes start to leak. There was enough wood left on the ground for the beetles and wood bugs you could have rebuilt Surrey with it.

People are paying huge money for firewood but I bet a dollar against the hole in a donut that if a person went in with a crew of, say, six unemployed people and a couple of pickup trucks, and started chain-sawing stovewood, then taking it to town to sell, it might take a week before you’d be up to your eyebrows with law, and court orders and who-knows-what and you’d be lucky if you weren’t charged with trespass. And maybe even theft.

Interesting that a couple of whisker-faced bravo types were so angry at the food fishers that they smashed windshields, but nobody did dick-diddle to the logging equipment. I’m sure all that waste and mess will have a far greater negative impact on spawning than some food fishers will.

Sometimes I’m very glad I’m old, and have mobility issues; I hate to think what kind of a troublemaker I’d be if I were younger and able to move without a cane.

Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.

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