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I think it's time we all stood our ground and make our Government do what's right.

January 11, 2008

If you know the Banff and Kananaskis area, then you know it is in major trouble. The Alberta Forest Industry doesn't know how to log our natural resources without destroying the ecosystems. They like to take the lazy approach and cut down every single tree in the area. Now to me that is just plain lazy and stupid. How many young small trees get destroyed that aren't worth cutting down?

In B.C. they are trying a new method of selective cutting and using helicopters to remove the trees. This is proving to be environmentally friendly and profitable. You see they get to select the best trees for lumber, and don't cut down every single tree. This leaves the younger trees, giving them a chance to grow and be harvested later. This also thins out the forest a little, without clear cutting it and destroying all the wildlife in the area.

Now I know it would be great if they wouldn't cut any trees down. But in the Banff and Kananaskis area we have a problem that the forest industry has created. You see we have been putting out all the natural forest fires in these areas for years and years. Believe it or not, this is a problem. By putting out all the fires, just lets more and more dead fall to accumulate. There is so much dead fall in these areas that eventually there will be a fire and it won't just be a small fire, it will be a major disaster. With so much dead fall to fuel the fire it will make it even harder to put out a wild fire.

Another problem is the Pine Bark Beetle in BC, and it's coming to Alberta whether you like it or not. Have you driven the #1 Highway lately? Drive into BC and you will see what I mean. The Pine Bark Beetle is every where and it gets worst every year. I am afraid that the only sure way to stop these pests from destroying our forests is to burn them out. Or cut down large areas to help stop their spread.

Now my next question is to the lumber industry. Since there are so many wood products made today using wood chip and wood particle materials, why aren't they harvesting the infected trees? Now I know it would be stupid to cut down an infected tree and transport it for processing, thus spreading the Pine Bark Beetle. But why can't they harvest the trees, and grind them up right there? I am sure they could come up with a process that would kill the Pine Beetle and still leave them with good useful wood material. Sorry but that makes more sense to me than just burning huge tracks of trees to stop this bug from spreading. Why not come up with a system to kill the bug and use the left over wood material???? That way we are not pumping huge amounts of green house gases into the air from all the burning.

So I think it is up to us to push the Forest Industries, and our Government into action. Make them harvest trees responsibly and make them destroy the Pine Bark Beetle once and for all. They have tried burning the pests out. But miss one single tree and it starts all over again. The Forest Industry wants the trees, so let them have the infected ones. Better yet, make them use the infected trees and have them come up with a safe way to do it while destroying the pest at the same time.

We need to stop complaining about the problem, and make our Government stand up and do something. If we don't do something quick in BC, then we might as well kiss Alberta's forests goodbye.

We pay the Governments salary, so don't you think it's about time they did something? Something environmentally friendly for a change. Stop letting industry rape our lands and make them responsible.

I think it's time we all stood our ground and make our Government do what's right.

Mel Calder