Balancing act

The cover of the Williams Lake Timber Supply Area Public Discussion Paper released this week depicts a storm brewing.

The picture really says it all.

The cover of the Williams Lake Timber Supply Area Public Discussion Paper released this week depicts a storm brewing over the coast mountains and Circle A Lake in the Chilcotin.

Taken by photographer Dan Hicks of Alexis Creek, the image also captures in a beautiful way, the extent of the mountain pine beetle infestation on our Timber Supply Area and our reaction to salvage log that wood.

This struggle between economics, and social and environmental needs now, and decades into our future, will ultimately be the challenge of Chief Forester Dave Peterson and the public at large. How do we make it all balance?

According to the discussion paper, timber supply areas are reviewed about every 10 years or so (this being the fourth for the WLTSA) to examine the impacts for forest management practices on the timber supply, economy, environment and social conditions of the local area and the province.

Sometimes annual allowable cuts don’t change much, but that’s not expected to be the case this time around.

In April of 2007, one year before the peak of the MPB infestation that would ultimately claim an estimated 710 million cubic metres provincially, the government conducted an urgent timber supply review and more than doubled the annual allowable cut here to 5,770,000 cubic metres, to salvage what was left of the dead pine.

That salvage operation has been very successful, however, the AAC is unsustainable at its current level.

How we, as forest reliant communities, move forward will be largely determined by the new AAC.

The government is encouraging the public to weigh in on the debate and help shape our forests into the future.

– Williams Lake Tribune