ROBSON VALLEY and PRINCE GEORGE LRMP'S
by Rick Zammuto, Save-the-Cedar League
Like most Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) or CORE talk and log processes, the Robson Valley LRMP/CORE pilot project and Prince George District LRMP tables are bogged down with procedural and house-keeping matters of wasted discussion. Those who want to continue status-quo logging during the so-called negotiation processes are happy they can continue to block any consensus that will lead to change. The processes can be kept under control while the last undeveloped watersheds in the districts continue to be logged. Below are some 1994 examples which clearly indicate how unfair LRMP's and CORE really are:
1) A miner logged 40 ha of an Antique Old Growth Forest without a cutting permit and was charged only 10% of his gross for trespassing. The next week he was given a streamlined cutting permit to cut down more of the Antique Forest without a PHSP. Antique Forests have many species of plants and animals that arise only as the forest ages. For example, in 1993 biologist Trevor Goward found at least 11 lichen species, which take more than 350 years to develop in old growth, growing only in the miner's giveaway (25 cents / M3). None of these species have ever been found elsewhere in inland North America but their habitat could not be protected during the LRMP process.
2) The new Robson Valley forest license which increased the AAC for five years (1991-96) during an official MOF AAC freeze was extended to 1999, behind closed doors, without even being discussed at the LRMP table. Slocan Forest Products simultaneously claimed an undeveloped watershed (Goat River) to log in 1998 that is outside their tenure area, again unstoppable by the LRMP. The Robson Valley contains about half of all the hectares of undeveloped watersheds in southern BC, outside of the Kitlope; all are now approved for logging before 1999.
3) The 1992 document "An Old Growth Conservation Strategy for the Robson Valley Forest District" was published by the MOF to specifically guide the district in management plans and AAC determinations. Despite the consensus for the strategy by the all-stakeholder Robson Valley Forest Planning Committee, it has now been completely ignored by the Regional Manager of the Prince George Region. The strategy's scientific recommendations were left out of the Timber Supply Review even though the LRMP table agreed that it should be included.
4) Even with the impending legislation of the Forest Practices Code, Northwood Pulp & Timber was allowed by the Prince George District Manager to clearcut-log in a visually sensitive area used by tourism operators. The Crescent Spur LRUP landscape analyst, from the Regional MOF office, assigned the area for "partial retention" (15% clearcut equivalent), but the PHSP's were signed by the District Manager for "maximum modification" (50-100% clearcut equivalent, no visual quality action required). Further attempts by LRMP table members to amend the PHSPs were ignored.