Atlantic Forestry March 2019

Resource giveaway
AFR: Another giveaway of Newfoundland and Labrador resources by Jerry Byrne and the Liberal government to Active Energy Group. A large tract of our forest is given away to this company for the making of pellets for export, providing fuel to heat homes in other countries.

The biggest value from our trees is lumber, far exceeding the making of paper and woodchips, and this company is allowed to harvest our forest and only has to provide 25 percent to be made into lumber. In other jurisdictions, forests are managed for lumber production, chips from slabs and wood unsuitable for lumber is usually turned into paper, and in lots of cases what is not suitable for paper is made into pellets or chips to be used in heating our homes and buildings.

Growing up, we would never use saw logs to heat our homes – they were too valuable. Since March 2003, I have been a volunteer along with others on the Public Advisory Committee for Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. The role of that committee is to provide a document on how to manage their timber leases sustainably so that they could use a sustainable forest management certificate on their paper products. Happy to say after a lot of meetings and hard work by both the committee and the company they did get the certificate, which helped them in the marketplace. A lot of companies will not buy products that are not grown or managed sustainably.

Also built into that sustainable management plan is that CBPPL will make 15 percent of their annual harvest available as saw logs. They have an agreement in place with Burton’s Cove Logging and Lumber Ltd. and Sexton Lumber in exchange for chips and pulp wood for the making of paper.

Although CBPPL doesn’t have to do this, it is a good working relationship that does well for all three companies and provides a well-managed forest, as well as a lot of well-paying jobs. CBPPL also uses scrap wood not suitable for lumber or paper as hog fuel, to cut down on the amount of oil being burnt, hence less pollution put into our atmosphere.

This deal with Active Energy Group, where a company is allowed to harvest the prime forests on the Northern Peninsula and use 75 percent of the wood harvested for pellets, is not sustainable forest management but a giveaway of a valuable resource in an election year, just for votes.

This government is putting a lot of effort into growing our own foods, while at the same time we are importing most of our lumber and turning our valuable trees into low-cost pellets.

We have to do better if this province is to survive.

(Ret.) Capt. Wilfred Bartlett
Green Bay South, N.L.

Log drive recollections
AFR: As a boy I can recall the log drives on the Saint John River. Then came the Beechwood Dam, and Irving built boom-piers to contain the logs so they could be trucked around the dam. The wangan boats would have to be hauled down to Bath to be turned in the area around the high school (where I graduated in ’64!), as that was the only space big enough. My grandparents cooked in the lumber camps and my dad and uncle often worked in the woods. The old days of log drives are gone ... but not the folklore and stories! I’d sincerely like to offer a verse around some of that folklore. (See “Devil’s Drive.”)

D.C. Butterfield
Kilburn, N.B.