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Interfor halts logging in Elaho

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Forestry company will wait for Squamish Nation to complete land use plan

International Forest Products, feeling the heat of international boycotts and the negative publicity generated by Greenpeace and other environmental activists, has formally announced it will halt all logging operations in the upper Elaho Valley until the Squamish Indian Band can complete a land use plan. The plan is expected to be completed by June.

The Western Canada Wilderness Committee, which has been lobbying to protect the Elaho for the past six years, is optimistic that the process could help to resolve the conflict.

"When I heard about the Squamish Nation land use planning process… I though to myself ‘thank goodness, maybe now someone can finally get down to the business of drawing lines that make sense around what forests need to be left in a pristine condition for future generations and what can be sustainably logged," said WCWC director Joy Foy.

"The Squamish Nation, whose people have lived on this land for countless generations, are certainly well suited for this difficult task."

Foy also said he is encouraged by Interfor’s actions, but is wary. "Interfor has made such springtime promises before, only to start logging again in the summer," said Foy. "We are willing to wait and see if they really mean it this time, but we have serious concerns given their history.

"I have to say that sometimes I feel like that guy in the Charlie Brown comic strip who always gets the football jerked away at the last moment and ends up falling on his butt."

The WCWC points out that nearby Sims Valley is still open to logging, despite its wildlife values and the potential for eco-tourism.

Interfor also promised another decision regarding its logging operations on the central coast, in an area known the Great Bear Rainforest, in the next two weeks.

Other forestry companies that are also feeling international pressure have told environmental groups they are prepared to switch to ecosystem-based logging practices in the future.

As an act of good faith coastal logging companies would like to see environmental groups put an end to their damaging campaigns. Activists have so far refused.

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