Monday November 24, 2014

Time to halt destruction of our forests


Dear Editor

Saskatchewan provincial forests are controlled by every man, woman and child in our province through the Ministry of Environment, an arm of the provincial government. Controlled by environment is an entity referred to as forestry. Though all the people who are employed within these mechanisms are supposed to be well educated, trained and disciplined professionals who serve the public to manage and preserve our province's precious assets, our provincial forests are suffering from disasters.

Just as the safety on a firearm is never to be trusted, nor is a human made mechanism that could fail at any time,. The servants of the Ministry of Environment require the same careful attention as a firearm. Knowing now there is a possibility of yet another mechanism failing, I will try to draw a very clear picture by unveiling the way a "safety" can fail.

We all know our provincial forests are home to both plants and animals, along with all the other interesting things that Mother Nature has stored both above and below the forest floor. What most people don't know is what is taking place on a daily basis in the form of disaster.

I won’t go back to the beginning of time, instead I will start around 1950 when the logging industry was far less mechanized, and far less detrimental to our forests. Axes were still in use along with chainsaws. Trees were selected and harvested to be used for everything possible. Most of the trails and cut lines were forged with axes and chainsaws and were anywhere from five to maybe 12 feet wide. The logs were hauled from the forest with horses and sleighs, and some were hauled with trucks. The transition between the cutline and forest would compare to walking from your kitchen to the living room, meaning you aren't likely to stub your toe.

Most of the timber hauling was done after freeze up because there are streams, muskeg, ponds and puddles throughout the forest. Even after freeze up there were springs and soft spots that required attention in order to pass over without getting stuck. The loggers would use a method referred to as corduroy, which proved to be a viable solution to getting over the soft spots. Corduroying used the tree tops, branches and all other supplies that Mother Nature had to offer. In streams, rocks were often picked and used, thus allowing the water to continue to flow. There was almost nothing required that wasn't already provided by Mother Nature. Yes, the task of harvesting logs was a gruelling task, along with being lucrative.

A few of these trails and cut lines still exist and are visible from outer space. Using Google Earth, zoom in and squiggly trails and perfect rectangles are visible throughout the provincial forests. I believe these trails and cut lines should be preserved as historical trails, a complex network used in the transportation of logs, furs, trade and just being able to get from A to B.

Yes, logging in the past used to be more "eco-friendly" than it is today. Starting in the early 1970s all went to hell, and the disasters begin. The practice of logging took a turn for the worse— the safety mechanism has failed. Today I can follow a logging company that represents no morals towards all that Mother Nature has worked hard to preserve. This logging company, even though its every move is monitored continuously by Saskatchewan Environment, the mechanism the people of Saskatchewan are to trust and pay to do the job at which they are failing to prevent these horrible disasters, runs amok.

Not only are they responsible for allowing this disaster, Sask. Environment is allowing the industry to continue forward without first cleaning up their disasters. There are stringent rules, guidelines and laws that are to be adhered to by the logging industries, yet Sask. Environment has turned a blind eye to several of these voilations for many years. In fact there are trees several years old growing amongst them, in some cases.

If tomorrow for some strange reason the forest in this area was to catch fire, the disaster would begin to unveil, proving this horrible disaster exists. In the smoke from the fire there would be black soot from tires left behind by the industry, toxic lethal smoke from the burning off galvanized culverts dug out of the logging roads and left to lay on Mother Nature’s pure forest floor, ridges filled with logs dirt and rocks, skirting most every road built using today's practises, rocks and boulders laying right along side the ridges, that were supposed to be buried.

Then animals would be walking back to what was once their home, looking at each other wondering if Mother Nature is a pig or if someone else is responsible for such a disgrace. On the old trails and cut lines there was little evidence of humans ever being there. Mother Nature stands scratching her head, thinking, “Are Humans ever going to learn? Then says, “To hell with it. They can clean up their own mess.”

I’m asking all the people of Saskatchewan to put a stop to this destruction now, by making both Sask. Environment and the industries responsible for this malpractice.

We are all stakeholders of the provincial porests, and can make the people responsible for this disaster accountable and clean up their mess. Report these infractions to Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers.

Dan Dillabough




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