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He still fundamentally disagrees with the removal of old growth but he told Pique previously that he's not against cutting trees if it's selective and for a purpose - for example, it supports the burgeoning eco-tourism industry that many people believe Whistler is set to become a leader in - and it maintains the outdoor aesthetic that people come in from around the world to experience.
Peter Ackhurst, a forestry consultant with the CCF, says they're working with all backcountry tour operators with overlapping tenures to ensure that the logging plans accommodate their businesses. The CCF reached an agreement with Crawford that they would not harvest on his tenure in 2010 in order to develop integrated plans in how to develop trails and logging roads and accommodate each other. The CCF is acting like a co-operative in this regard, and the message is that the forest is big enough for everyone to do what they need to do.
"There are plenty of (backcountry businesses) that want to co-operate. We've had several meetings with them. We had one in the middle of September and everybody talks about being very positive and supportive of the whole thing," Ackhurst says. "There are benefits to all sides."
Dan Griffin, director of planning for WORCA, told Pique in an e-mail that the effect of logging in the community forest has been a big concern. They asked the CCF early on to build consideration for trails into the harvest plan.
The issue, he wrote, is that according to provincial guidelines, trails are only considered if they have been officially authorized or established under Section 57 of the Forest and Range Practices Act.
"In Whistler, the only trails covered under this are Comfortably Numb and the Flank. Needless to say, negotiating with the CCF is pretty important," he wrote.
As it currently stands, Runaway Train is doomed - although WORCA may restore the trail after logging has been completed.
They've come to an agreement with the CCF and Griffin wrote that the CCF is "committed to keeping the lines of communication open and working with WORCA on a case by case basis. They've also been granted a seat on the RMOW Forest and Wildland Advisory Committee, which reviews the harvest plans early on and reports to council.
"Really, it's a lot more support then a local group of riders would get in any other community. Certainly a lot more then we would get from a commercial forestry operation."
In the end, even with all the cooperation, the talk about "sustainability" and "preservation," the CCF, like any community forest - like any forest area in B.C. - is all about logging. Forestry had been inextricably linked to B.C.'s social, economic and political make-up since before British Columbia joined confederation, and it will remain a leading industry. All board meetings and luncheons, all public hearings, all interviews with media, were underlined with the fact that trees will be cut. That's just the way it is. Most Crown land in the province is working forest and will be preserved as working forest to ensure that the province continues to benefit economically from forestry.
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