Recent History – 1999
Dec. 7, 1999, By Mark Nielsen. Daily News Staff
Residents in the Blockline Road area are at odds with Louisiana-Pacific over the forest company’s intention to log a section of land they say should remain untouched.
“We just feel like some pieces of native boreal forest need to be left alone so that they can regenerate as they see fit,”said Linda Ewert, one of about 100 people who’ve signed a petition.
The forest has become a recreational area for locals who use it for picnics, walks, and horseriding. As well, there are stands of spruce and pine, some moose licks and some hawk nests.
L-P’s intentions became public when George Merrick, who holds a grazing lease on the area, was notified.
“They sent me a little map of the whole area with a little note that there was going to be some logging going on with our grazing permits,”he said.
Merrick said the confrontation is the second round of a battle that residents fought with L-P in 1988. That was when they wanted L-P to refrain from logging two sections of land along Blockline Road.
In the end, they settled for allowing L-P to log one of the mile-by-mile sections while about 240 hectares of the other section remained untouched.
But Merrick said that an agreement was not so much reached as L-P simply stopped talking about it and left the area alone for the time being.
L-P operations supervisor Lyle Mortenson said that he met with some of the residents a few weeks ago, and told them that the company was willing to make some concessions while still going after the aspen that’s ready to fall down.
“We’re not out there to make a moonscape out there,”he said. “We’ll reserve all the game licks and the hawk’s nests and all these other reserves but we can’t just leave whole areas and just let the trees fall down.”
L-P’s intention to log the area is part of a development plan for harvesting 600,000 cubic meters in the Dawson Creek Forest District.
With such measures as reserves being set aside under the Land and Resource Management Plan, and requirements that riparian areas along creeks and 7-10 per cent of each block be left untouched, Mortenson said L-P doesn’t have a lot of leeway.
Moreover, by allowing a reserve for one group, he said L-P would be obliged to set aside such areas for other groups throughout the forest district.
“Everybody’s going to want timber in their back yard,”he said. “Their little private area.”
But Merrick said it’s not a big concession. “It’s not a million acres, it’s 240 hectares.”
L-P notified Merrick of their intention as part of the process of developing the plan, which they expect to submit to the Ministry of Forests early in the new year.
Forest district manager Terry Dyer said it usually takes at least nine months from the submission date for a final decision to be made. The process includes a 60-day public review period during which comments from the public area welcomed.
“If we receive a plan that has a block in the area that the people in the Blockline area are concerned with, I suspect we’re going to have some discussion on that, and obviously the ministry is going to have to make a decision,”he said.
Along with the petition, residents have launched a letter-writing campaign.