The area on Stoney Hill featured in the WhereDoWeStand film is now slated for 2019 blowdown recovery, including widening an old forest road, building skid paths, a landing area and five patch cuts.
Were alternative harvest methods even considered by staff or did they just default to business as usual? Alternative harvesting methods, (manual felling, use of ground-based cable system such as a skidder), could avoid the need for extensive road reactivation, construction of landing sites and removal of additional standing trees to facilitate the salvage.
Such an approach could address environmental concerns, visual concerns, minimize potential site impacts and more.
Given Stoney Hill is subject to a tabled motion to pause all logging there pending public engagement, and that the mission and management framework for the MFR is under review, one would assume the administration would make some effort to address things differently.
Also, given the number of trees down, the canopy cover largely intact, some have even queried whether salvage is necessary. There is also the issue of cost: How do the salvage costs for Stoney Hill compare to the revenue generated by the salvage?
In the last FAC Committee meeting, the members asked for a clear direction from the community. The municipality did not give the committee access to the 100 pages of citizen comments collected on WhereDoWeStand.ca as they were deemed to be too political. Now there is talk of a citizen survey focused on forest management.
Why not pause the Stoney Hill logging until public consultation decides the best and highest use of the Stoney Hill forest? Keep the area intact in case we decide the best use is that of a park or nature reserve.