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Letter: How to make a forest management plan

Some residents are concerned about the possibility of clearcutting being conducted on the Great Northern Peninsula.
These logs were cut on the Northern Peninsula. A letter-writer has concerns about what is happening near Port Blandford. — SaltWire Network file photo

Amidst the economic and social turbulence since the moratorium, Port Blandford has held its own, with flourishing small businesses and a tourism sector that takes advantage of its amazing natural landscapes.

It’s hard to understand why forest managers would disproportionately target these local woods for a massive logging operation that will include new roads and vast clear-cuts. I must apologize for being a poor person to write in defense of this ecologically important area, because my points are more cultural and spiritual than anything else, and thus, will no doubt be misunderstood. But I hope it might add support to those more socially savvy (I’m not even on Facebook!) who have taken up the cause. It's really inspirational to see so many people concerned about nature. So here’s how I figure they came up with the management plan:

Step 1: Timing
Typically, the best thing to do is to wait for the shifting baseline of indifference to catch up to the level of the atrocity proposed. Wait for people to move away for work, for the quietening of kitchens, for kids hooked on tech, for grown men distracted by toys, for even stranger weather, for wild places to get landscaped and forgotten, for magical brooks turned into ditches, enchanted meadows into lawns, for the clearing of childhood geographies. Wait for Nalcor to put in unnecessary roads, leaving a mountain of timber to rot on the ground. Wait for people to forget that they never used to lock their doors, that kids used to stay out and play all day. Wait for a cheap facsimile of rural culture imported from down south. But be careful! Port Blandford is not your typical town. These people love the woods and the water. And there are a lot of smart people with very smart children around lately. Don’t wait too long.

Step 2: Deception
Use words like biodiversity. But never walk up the Southwest to sit above a little fir valley to hear, in birdsongs and the brook below, the true music of spring. Never consult in your own hearts for a moment (as an exercise in your own humanities) the opinions of the lynx, pine martens and thousands of other creatures that are part of the orchestra of this old woods. Never consider that the river above has a soul that is part of the soul and culture of Port Blandford below. Hold public consultations without the public. Use words like biodiversity and hope that nobody who has a clue about biodiversity ever reads it.

Step 3: Destroy hope
Don’t forget the power of what you're proposing. The Southwest wind is the best wind in Port Blandford, bringing more than just calm water and good fishing. It blows through rich old woods, down into town, across homes built with its lumber, mixing with its woodstove smoke, and carrying the smell of trout, rabbit and moose from one kitchen window to the next. It sits in the memories of people working away in Alberta. It plays songs in the tops of silver maples and makes kids playing outside breath deep, imagining wild and magical places. And that gives people hope. Put in the roads. Cut it all. Destroy it now.

Allan Hann
Conception Bay South

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