Sunday, July 31, 2011

Logging Knight Inlet, July 2011

Knight Inlet on BC's coast has seen large scale industrial logging since the 1960s. A recent upturn in the market for low quality hemlock and fir in China is seeing renewed activity as loggers start to take the 50+ year old second growth on the slopes of the Klinaklini River valley.

Interfor currently manages the Klinaklini River basin, with Wahkash Contracting as the active logging operator. I was in the Knight Inlet operation in late July 2011, taking photographs and talking to people working in the woods. I recorded this short interview with Interfor forestry engineer Kirby Jacques after looking at some of the wood that's being taken out of the watershed. I know a little about (very little, relatively speaking) timber values. Most of what is being cut is not the kind of wood I would consider to be of high value. As I say in the video, it's "ugly." Yet, as Kirby relates, it's this ugly second growth that is fuelling the current upturn in the coastal forest industry. 

(You'll notice one of the "pleasures" of working in the woods – the large horse (and deer) flies that love to take chunks out of you when you're busy. Several of these beauties fly in and out of the video. At the end, one lands on the camera lens, obscuring Kirby's face. )

The coastal industry has long been a source of controversy. Logging practices were vilified in the late 20th century. There is currently much anger about exporting of raw logs. Right now, the Chinese market for "ugly" logs that are not wanted in BC are providing jobs for BC loggers. This market is also providing a "solution" to the unanticipated consequence of forest industry practices of the 20th century, what one long-timer has called the "coastal Hemlock slums."

31 July 2011
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