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LRUP logging

19 Mile logging coming, but not soon By Chris Woodall Terminal Forest Products has plans to log the 19 Mile Creek area above Alpine Meadows, but not any time soon, says Don Shaw, the company's woodlands manager. "We're still working it out with the Forestry Service," he says of getting final approvals in order for such things as visual impact analysis. "It'll be a five-years-plus time frame. There's nothing imminent," Shaw says of when trees start falling. The cut block Terminal will work in is high enough that only by climbing Wedge Mountain and looking back across the valley at Alpine Meadows would anyone see logging activity, says Ken Melamed, one of Whistler council's representatives on the Forest and Wildlife Advisory Committee. The committee attempts to work with logging companies to either dissuade them from logging cut blocks they have tenure to in the Whistler area, or to arrange less intrusive ways to get the logs without disturbing the resort's scenery. "We have decided to oppose outright any logging in the 19 Mile Creek area," Melamed says, but admits there's not much else the committee can do to force Terminal to change its plans. "The Local Resource Use Plan (LRUP) gives us the right to comment, but no powers," Melamed says. The cut block owned by Terminal is in working forest. It is one of several cut blocks the company owns in the Whistler area. The rest are in the vicinity of Wedge Creek. Another company, Western Forest Products, has rights to cut blocks along Cheakamus River where the old train wreck is and farther south in the Brandywine River and Daisy Lake area. One issue that has been resolved between the municipal committee and Terminal has been to re-route the logging road out of the 19 Mile cut block to go to Alta Lake Road, south of Alpine Meadows. The original, and still preferred, plan for Terminal was to drive its logging trucks through Alpine Meadows to the highway. "We would have preferred to go through Alpine Meadows, but that's not on the books," Shaw says. Going up and over the mountains to the Soo Valley isn't on the books either. "That's not ours," Shaw says of land rights to build logging roads to access that route. In any case, several factors come into play to make logging 19 Mile Creek heights inevitable. The government has mandated that logging companies must harvest a minimum of 50 per cent of their annual allotment to ensure employment in the industry doesn't dry up entirely. If they don't log at least 50 per cent, they lose the quota, Shaw says. Because of the slumping forest industry, all the logging firms are going for that minimum. But the logs have to come from somewhere. "If we had our druthers, there would be no more logging here because of the resort," Melamed says. "The tragedy of it, in my mind, is that they have to cut a certain amount of timber," Melamed says. "Because we face this cap, if we dig our heels in here, we could lose more sensitive forests elsewhere." Shaw admits a forestry products company can't please everyone all the time. As for how it plans to take the trees, 30 per cent will be select cut and the rest clear cut. "We try to take the trees by following forestry principles," Shaw says. Which areas will get what kind of falling will depend on the geography. Careful observers of the logging trucks travelling through Whistler may have guessed that the size of the logs harvested seem smaller than in previous years. They would be right. "Ten years ago the average log was 1.4 cubic metres," Shaw says. "Today they are one cubic metre: a decrease of 40 per cent in size." "Individually there are lots of big ones," Shaw says, which is also borne out by watching the logging trucks whiz by.