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Letter to the Editor: Preserving old growth

'If a small percentage of landowners decide that the forest they have maintained should not be clear-cut and subdivided, and that the flora and fauna on that property should be kept intact, they can make a difference.'
pemberton meadows ryan river conservation swamp forest mountains
The Ryan River Conservation Area in Pemberton, B.C. Photo courtesy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada

[I’m writing] in reference to the article “Nature conservancy seeing demand from private landowners” by Brandon Barrett in the Pique of July 6, 2021.

Ninety-four per cent of the provincial land-base is owned by the province, the remaining six per cent is privately owned. This six per cent of the land-base is overwhelmingly in lower elevations and there are very few forests left in these areas. These are the areas [that] have or used to have the highest levels of biodiversity.

If a small percentage of landowners decide that the forest they have maintained should not be clear-cut and subdivided, and that the flora and fauna on that property should be kept intact, they can make a difference—[they can leave it in trust to preserve the natural wildland.]

These forests, even if small, will provide a refuge for wildlife and may provide a passageway for migrating wildlife.

Of course, in most cases, property owners will want to leave their property to their children, or the owner may need to sell in order to have enough money for retirement. There will be a few cases, however, like mine, where the owner does not have children and is not struggling financially in retirement.

If the property is left as an inheritance, it will be to members of his family, who have not lived on the property and maintained the forest and who would very likely prefer cash over property. They will sell it to a developer and it will be clear-cut and often subdivided.

I would like to ask landowners interested in the [conservancy] concept to contact me for further discussions. I can be contacted by email at watewinkel@gmail.com.

Wim Tewinkel // Mount Currie