Monthly Archives: March 2014

Celista Coffee House, March 21, 2014

B.C.’s sorry state of forest management

One of many massive slash piles to be burnt in B.C.’s forests

Forestwatch is a listserve with over 100 members that has been active in one form or another since the late 1990s. Typical postings include news items about BC forest issues, press releases and occasional local observations or viewpoints. The listserve was abuzz recently, when Mark Haddock, who is with the UVic Environmental Law Centre, requested input about forestry operations for a talk he was asked to give at the upcoming Southern Interior Silviculture Committee convention.

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Shuswap and Mara Lakes are rich ecosystems

Since Shuswap and Mara Lakes are the source of drinking water for a large percentage of the region’s population, some residents have referred to the lakes as drinking water reservoirs due to their interest in maintaining high water quality. Yet, calling these lakes reservoirs is misinformed, as most lakes are complex ecosystems, that support a wide diversity of life forms and the biology of the lakes varies according to the season of the year and the variety of natural and man-made inputs. By and large, most of the Shuswap and Mara Lakes area is classified as oligotrophic with clear, relatively nutrient free water, as are most lakes in the Shuswap.

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Building our “hippie log mansion!”

Our “hippie log mansion” today

In the summer of 1970, I had just finished post-graduate work at the Professional Development Program at Simon Fraser University and received a teaching credential.  Upon returning to the Shuswap from Vancouver, I wrote these words in my journal that described my goals for living:


I am attempting to restructure my life to ecological commitments. This entails developing a self-sufficient life style in which simple country living needs are provided by meaningful tasks. I want to build the structures needed out of natural materials found on the land. Making use of trees cut down and left to rot or dead but standing. I want to recycle all my wastes back into the land. I hope to work with the land – approaching a more natural, symbiotic relationship with nature. I want to release the creative energies that lie unused in my mind and body. I want to learn the possibilities alive in wood and clay. We don’t need to isolate ourselves in a mountain retreat. We hope to have a small community of people based on craft work. People we can get together with, to make magic, to dance and to be festive.

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Shuswap’s Species at Risk

One way to gauge the environmental health of the Shuswap is by understanding how well rare species are fairing, given the growing impacts from resource development. However, navigating the maze of information and agencies regarding the growing numbers of species at risk in B.C. is a challenge. While Canada does have endangered species legislation, its ability to actually make a difference is severely limited because the act only applies to federal lands, migratory birds and aquatic species. The federal government can take action, if a provincial government fails to prepare a recovery plan. The government of B.C. has long resisted bringing in endangered species legislation and instead focuses on cooperation, collaboration, communication and mostly voluntary measures.

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