Sunday, December 27, 2015

Forest Practices Board questions self regulation by forest companies

 A Forest Practices Board report on District Manager's Authority questions self regulation by forest companies under the concept of professional reliance. Use link to get to the Forest Practices Board Reports.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Proportional Representation and a Green Canada

Recently,Canada has had a change in Government and the governing Liberal Party promised some form of proportional representation. This is also supported by the New Democratic Party and the Green Party. There are several forms of proportional representation and any form that Canada selects may pose a problem for Canada's environment. Even the present first past the post method of representation carries the same problem.

When we talk of proportional representation, we mean proportional to the population that live mainly in cities strung across the south of Canada. About half of Canada's population live in a few big cities. Our larger cities tend to be ports, transportation, supply, financial, and political centers for a economy that is based on natural resources usually located in the hinterland. Canada's forests are a major carbon sink or repository for the world. Our forest laws and policies for forests that tend to be public rather than private have favored grand scale timber supply that favor the business of the big city while ignoring the sustainability of individual forest dependent communities. Proportional representation will not solve the problem of big cities depleting the hinterland.

The power of cities is reflected in our culture. Before 1900 the average person would have understood the meaning of character, but the notion of personality would be new and little understood. The notion of personality, style, merits of extrovert behavior, celebrity increased through the 20th century as cities grew and became centers for new technology and media. The growth of cities has had a profound effect on human culture. Are these changes in our culture and perspectives good for our relationship with the land and nature outside our built cities?  Will our children that are heavily occupied looking at the screens of various electronic devices have a feel for the farm or forest?

Will the votes from the city ever represent Canada? Proportional representation in Canada needs to include some mechanism that is proportional to the area of Canada. Canada is a vast country and our different regions, areas and environments need representation. There are cultural differences within Canada that are a product of regional environments. Our founding fathers saw the Canadian Senate as the representative of different areas. Western Canada was barely in the picture at that time, and the non elected appointee Senate has declined in stature as a credible institution. Canada is a tenuous country and a reformed elected senate that represents areas or regions could help to hold the country together in the long term.

While there is considerable support for proportional representation, our politicians are unwilling to tackle proportional representation of regions or areas because it will involve the Provinces and constitutional reform. Too difficult the politicians say. Are our politicians being too lazy. An elected Senate could improve the long term stability of our tenuous country.

Provinces in Canada have considerable powers, more than most federal systems. The flow of natural resources from the hinterland is what makes the big cities, financial and political centers of Provinces tick. A major pipeline intended to move Alberta oil or bitumen south to the Gulf of Mexico has been denied by USA. If Canada or the other provinces restricts the flow of Alberta oil to the east or west, Alberta will have the motivation to leave the Canadian federation.

Canada needs some representation proportional to area in Ottawa. A reformed elected Senate could be the necessary institution. Such a Senate would represent the land and the natural environment and ensure that our political system is not dominated by voices from the built environments of the city.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Forestry, Recreation and Tourism in BC's public forests


Summary
British Columbia's public forests are managed through a system of private timber harvesting rights.
Industrial timber production takes priority and sustaining other values is seen as an imposition on timber activities.
After a binge through the best virgin timber in the last half of last century, the forest sector is less robust and more sensitive to cost pressures and unlikely to be progressive in the stewardship of non-timber values and resources.
The Montreal Process an international agreement makes it clear that sustainable forest management means including non timber and nature based economic activities in the forest economy.
Only approximately 25% of the average public forest landscape in BC is suitable for timber production. The remaining 75% is wilderness in natural condition with considerable recreation potential. This area of wilderness is twice as large as the area protected in parks.
The wilderness areas in timber producing forest landscapes and the protected areas in BC Parks are lands in natural condition with recreational potential. Land in natural virgin condition is in short supply in the world. BC has barely scratched the surface of the sustainable nature based economy that could be generated from these lands that make up more than half the area of the Province. Aesthetic values have been reduced in some areas as a result of industrial timber management.
The Montreal Process calls for legal and institutional arrangements that support comprehensive sustainable forest management. Given that the recent mountain pine beetle epidemic was, in large part, a $100 Billion forest management failure, it can be argued that the timber harvesting rights system has failed to ensure timber sustainability. It has done a poor job of managing other values and made our forest products vulnerable to discriminatory export duties.
British Columbia's potential for non-comsumptive nature based economic activity is greater than Switzerland. Switzerland's tourist economy is valued at US $20 Billion. This is larger than BC's forest economy. BC's private harvesting rights in public forests impedes the development of nature based resources and economic activity. BC Parks, the management authority for protected areas is unfunded and lacking professional capacity.
Development of forest recreation resources should be sustainable. While other jurisdictions have standards for safe sustainable forest trails, poorly located unsustainable trails are the rule rather than the exception in BC. Serious accelerated erosion can be found on trails in BC Parks.
New legal and institutional arrangements are required for sustainable management of public forests in BC. These arrangements should focus on stewardship responsibility rather than private rights. The stewardship institution should have the mandate to manage all the natural capital of a forest landscape. The stewardship institution should be accountable to the local public.
The local forest trust is a promising forest stewardship institution. Trusteeship of public forests would be devolved from the BC Government and would replace the existing failed institutions. The local forest trust would have a democratically elected board and professional forest managers charged with sustainable management of all forest resources. The forest managers would contract harvesting operations and sell the timber on an open market. They would also be responsible for the protection and development of recreation and other resources. Recreation business activity could take place through stewardship licenses.  A more long term forest design approach would be employed to sustain all forest values and there would be a major shift away from the present short term piecemeal planning that is associated with forest harvesting and its grudging accommodation of other interests. Forestry treatments would become more diverse and as a result the health, aesthetics and timber sustainability of the forest landscape will improve.

Discussion
British Columbia's public forests are managed by harvesting rights that are held by forest companies. The public interest in recreation is handled through professional reliance. Professional foresters are supposed to ensure that environmental and recreational values are sustained and protected in any forest management plans. Most forest professionals probably do their best to accommodate other forest values and interests. However, the entire legal and institutional framework for managing public forests is stacked against a more proactive approach toward the development and protection of recreational resources.
Timber is king in BC's forests and this false economic hegemony has pushed other interests to the side because they are not seen as producing big dollars. The tourism economy in BC is significant and could be much enhanced by some investment and development in forest recreation. Forest companies with timber harvesting rights operate on timber dollars and accommodating other interests and values is viewed as an imposition or a constraint on timber activities. Professional foresters are hired or employed by forest companies and are subject to the pressures to reduce timber harvesting and forest operating costs. The timber harvesting binge through the best of BC's virgin timber in the last half of last century has left a situation where forest operating cost pressures are greater than any time in the last seventy five years. Cost pressures are likely to impede progress in stewardship of non-timber values.
Where does recreation and tourism fit in sustainable forest management?
This depends on your definition of sustainable forest management. Sustainable forest management is touted by the BC Government and forest corporations. Some of the sustainable forest management certification schemes have a timber centric definition of sustainable forest management with other interests being accommodated by advisory groups and public opportunities to comment. These align with the approach of the BC Government and forest corporations toward the management of other forest values and interests. Public involvement processes can easily become a public relations effort to appease the public with no real commitment, dollars or effort going into the protection development and enhancement of non-timber resources or values.
The Montreal Process, an international agreement and definition of sustainable forest management signed by Canada makes it clear that recreation and tourism does fit within sustainable forest management. Sustainable forest management is about generating multiple social and economic benefits to meet the needs of forest dependent communities. Sustainable forest management is about generating economic value from timber and then adding other social and economic benefits from the natural capital of the forest landscape.
Further, the Montreal Process makes it clear that a forest jurisdiction such as the Province of British Columbia should have a legal and institutional framework that enables the type of comprehensive sustainable forest management that it defines.
The potential for forest recreation and associated nature based economic activity in British Columbia is an untapped major economic opportunity. Switzerland's mountains, forests and scenery attracts a tourism economy of US$ 20 Billion annually (more than our timber economy). BC has more to offer and greater potential.
A forest dependent community seeking to enhance its tourism economy by developing the recreational potential of its forest landscapes will be impeded rather than aided by the institutional framework for forest management. A forest company or forest company will see the landscape as its operating forest and the proposed recreational developments as a bit of a nuisance.
Forestry and recreation in the average forest landscape in BC under the present framework
Politicians, especially at times of elections invite us all to partake in a sort of voluntary tyranny of the economy. The economy looms so large that it distorts our perceptions. Our perception of the average public forest landscape has been similarly distorted. Timber economics looms large and most of us see timber growing and harvesting as the dominant feature of the landscape. Only about one quarter of the area of the average forest landscape in BC is suitable for timber production. The remainder of the area is inaccessible or uneconomic forest, alpine areas, lakes glaciers and mountain tops that will remain in wild natural condition. This area of de-facto parks is about twice the area of our officially designated protected areas or parks. The last two decades have seen a considerable increase in the area of public forest that has been placed in parks or protected areas. Pressure from environmental groups to "save" forests from forest management was the motivating force for designating more parks. Society was seen to have made an economic sacrifice and there were calls from the forest sector to designate timber producing forests as "working forests" or places where growing timber could take place without the constraints of other interests or values. Polarized political land use and economic arguments between environmentalists and forest corporate interests have distorted our perceptions of the real need to provide sustainable stewardship to forest landscapes. These perceptions have emanated from big cities and are being imposed to the detriment of forest dependent communities. The polarized debate over forest management did promote improvement in forest practices. Erosion associated with forest roads in timber producing forests was much reduced. Meanwhile there is egregious soil erosion ongoing on trails in "saved" forests or protected areas because BC Parks lacks similar standards, budget and trained staff capacity.
The area that comprises BC's forest recreational resource, the protected areas or parks and the land that will remain in natural condition within timber producing forest landscape is getting little stewardship under our existing framework. Meanwhile there is pressure toward a timber producing or "working forest" approach in the timber producing area. Timber producing areas can also offer considerable recreational opportunity if a long term forest design approach makes accommodations for other values. The present forest stewardship plans are really only relatively short term plans for harvest and forest regeneration with other values seen as a constraint requiring some work around approach.
Forest recreation is poorly accommodated within the present framework for managing public forests. Efforts to prop up our existing arrangements, designed for 1945, are likely to be regressive with respect to protecting and developing recreational values. In 1980, the Ministry of Forests had a recreation section with professional capacity in forest recreation. This capacity no longer exists and the cost pressures in forest harvesting have increased. Forest contractors are being squeezed by forest corporations and there is less stability in the forest sector. There may be increased discriminatory tariffs and taxes on forest product exports to USA because their lumber producers can make convincing arguments that the BC framework  is not market based and subsidizes forest companies. BC forest products get extra taxes because BC's system is too lenient. The US forest products producers could argue that BC is not doing enough to sustain other values and failing to pay the costs of their protection is a subsidy. Our forest products could face extra taxes because we are not doing enough to sustain recreation and other forest values. The BC Government's revenue stream from stumpage will reduce and this will put pressure to reduce administration costs through long term leasing of public forest land for corporations to have a relatively free hand in mono focused timber growing. The population of BC is becoming more concentrated in southern cities easing the way for politicians to advocate robbing the hinterland for the sake of the economy.
Government and forest corporation public relations efforts will point to a future of improvement in the accommodation of recreational values and development in BC's forest landscapes. However, the present situation in the forest sector indicates that we will face a regressive period with regard to the stewardship of recreation and other non-timber forest values.
New legal and institutional arrangements are needed to safeguard recreation and other non timber values in BC's public forests
Today, we like to talk about ecosystem forest management. Actually the idea that forests should be managed more along the lines of natural indigenous forests has been around for a long time. Foresters were advocating this approach almost two centuries ago. The main argument was that more natural forests are less likely to have major failures or blips in their ability to sustain timber supplies. "Work with nature or you will be defeated" was the dictum of foresters that opted for the natural approach.
BC has just experienced one of the most serious blips in the history of forest management. The mountain pine beetle epidemic caused lost economic opportunity to the tune of about $100 Billion. The public relations machine would have us believe that global warming is the sole culprit. The main species involved is Lodge Pole Pine. European foresters have been growing this BC tree as an exotic species and know it should be harvested before it gets too old. Too old for this species is about 80 years because it becomes susceptible to mountain pine beetle attack at that age. In BC, harvesting other species was favored and government forest fire fighting efforts saved more Lodge Pole pine from fire. The net result was that the interior of BC became filled with old Lodge Pole pine. Our forest management arrangements for public forests created a huge area of prime mountain pine beetle habitat ready and waiting for a mild winter or two. Since BC is on the Pacific shores a couple of mild winters can be expected without help from global warming. Our legal and institutional framework, based on the notion that forests can be sustainably managed by the vehicle of harvesting rights has failed to sustain timber supplies and resulted in major economic losses. It is not good for the timber economy and it has been a major impediment to the protection and development of recreation and the non-timber forest economy.
What should we learn from this? In forest ecosystem management we should see ourselves as part to the ecosystem. A major item in how we interact with the forest ecosystem is our legal and institutional arrangements for managing our public forests. The public as owners have given up their forests to a system of private harvesting rights that has had negative impacts on the forest and its timber production capacity while riding roughshod over other forest values. These are ecosystem and public values. We need a new system that works for the forest ecosystem and the public instead of corporate greed.
We need to start thinking of our forest values not as a right but as a responsibility. We have to be good stewards of the forest and our legal and institutional arrangements should ensure stewardship. The stewards should not be corporate folk with a right to harvest, but independent professional stewards charged with comprehensive sustainable management of all the natural capital of the forest landscape. These stewards should be accountable to the owners of the forest. In BC the owners are the public. The trustee for the public has been the BC Government and for over a century it has failed to adequately exercise its duty to the public as beneficiaries of our forests and values. Its forest and environmental agencies are failed institutions. Even if you have a warm feeling about the considerable increase in parks or protected areas, the management authority, BC Parks, is perhaps the most capacity and budget deficient of the agencies involved in public forests.
A new approach of devolving trusteeship of public forests from the Provincial Government to local forest trusts under trust documents requiring sustainable forest management as defined by the Montreal Process is the a promising arrangement. There would be a locally elected board and professional managers charged with sustaining all forest values. The forest managers would plan and conduct timber operations with the aid of contractors. Timber would be sold on the open market. The forest managers would also be responsible for planning and managing other forest resources. Recreation or nature based economic operations would operate under stewardship licenses. The professional forest managers would work for all interests and would be accountable to the public through a democratically elected board. The local trust approach provides for stewardship of all resources rather than private timber harvesting rights with the hope that the harvesters will accommodate and care for other values. The polarized reaction to industrial timber harvesting activity in British Columbia is a product of the deficiencies or inability of the harvesting rights system to accommodate other values. This has distorted public perception about forest management and stewardship. Forest management should include stewardship of recreational values.
The local forest trust approach would provide professional forest stewards that would plan and develop recreational values. A long term forest design approach could be employed rather than simply trying to reduce impacts of piecemeal harvesting plans. The lack of social license for timber harvesting in BC has brought the view that all forest harvest is bad while protection in parks or other non timber activity is good. The reality is that all activity in forests requires good stewardship. Poor forest roads, recreation trails, ski runs can cause erosion. Good stewardship and planning can prevent these problems. Good stewardship is the product of comprehensive education and experience. A forest engineer will have training and experience in forest roads that is transferrable to the task of adequate location and construction of hiking or other trail in the forest. Use of clear cutting, shelter wood or selection silvicultural systems can be used in a forest design to sustain recreation, wildlife or recreational values. Under a new system with professional forest stewards charged with sustaining all forest resources, forest management can be the means to sustain recreational resources. Under the present system of harvesting rights and the hegemony of industrial timber harvesting in the forest landscape there is limited opportunity to exercise the protective potential of good forest stewardship in the protection and development of recreational values. The local forest trust could also be the institution for stewardship of aboriginal title. Aboriginal title is already defined by the Canada's supreme court as a sustainable community title.

The development and protection of recreational values in public forests in BC
There is both a social and economic component to the protection and development of recreational values in forests. Nature based economic activity is generated through various diverse recreational activities such a hiking, hunting, guiding, skiing etc. There are social, spiritual, and health benefits in forest recreation.
Recreational development in forests to bring significant economic return to a local economy do not need to involve some major project requiring large capital investment. The natural capital is in the natural conditions and scenery in the forest landscape. A good system of hiking trails may be sufficient to supply recreational opportunity to locals and attract visitors and tourists. Sometimes these can be constructed by local volunteers at minimal cost. However, trails need to be adequately routed, located and designed to be sustainable and attract use and tourists. Gradients of trails should not exceed 15% to provide ease of hiking and reduce the risk of erosion. They need to provide viewpoints and other points of interest along the route. Sensitive site should be avoided. The tread or trail surface should be free of tripping hazards such as projecting rocks or roots. Humans are barely evolved to stay upright, and if you hike regularly on a trail with tripping hazards there is a very high chance that you will suffer an injury within one year. A considerable amount of planning and location effort is a prerequisite for a recreational trail system that will be sustainable and attract users and tourists. Other jurisdictions that aim to attract tourists provide high quality hiking trails. Forest trails in BC, even those in protected areas, tend to leave more than a little to be desired. Landscapes that are marred by poorly planned industrial timber operations leave a bad impression on visitors.
There are boundless opportunities for recreation in BC's forests but we will not advance in the protection and development of these resources and values until we reform our legal and institutional arrangements for managing public forests.




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Forestry in Recreation Areas Conference Kelowna BC Saturday November 7, 2015

Conference Notice:
Forestry in BC’s Recreation Areas  Improving Relationships and Results
Holiday Inn, West Kelowna, BC 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Saturday, November 7, 2015
Goals of the conference
 The main purpose of the conference is to better understand the issues with forest harvesting practices near important recreation and tourism areas in BC, and discuss possible solutions. These discussions will be documented to ensure the ideas brought forward can be used as a resource by conference participants in their future discussions with the forest industry and government.   The discussions will be summarized and made accessible to all attendees during and after the conference. Information will be compiled in the following ways.  o PowerPoint slides and other presentation material will be uploaded to Google Docs. o A laptop-equipped note taker will be assigned to each of workgroup.   o Notes will be uploaded to Google Docs for easy collation and sharing.  As part of the “Next Steps” session, participants may decide that it is appropriate to form a volunteer team to take the raw conference results and create a more formal document.  The document could summarize recreation stakeholder concerns about forest management and practices within recreation and tourism areas, along with any agreed upon recommendations for government and industry actions.  The goal would be to improve working relationships and consideration of recreation values in forest harvesting and management.
Conference Organization and Charter
This exploratory conference has been organized by the Apex Property Owners Association and volunteers concerned about forest management practices within recreation and tourism areas across BC.
We hope to identify issues, and share experiences while seeking the maximum benefit for the participants’ time and effort: a biggest bang for the buck approach.  Unfortunately, it has been our experience that government and industry do not give much weight to the opinions of individual citizens. Therefore, for this initial conference, participation is restricted to official representatives of BC’s outdoor recreation and tourism oriented communities, organizations and clubs.  Hence participants will typically be elected board members of an outdoor recreation
association or non-profit organization.  Property owner associations and local community officials of recreation-oriented communities are also invited to participate.
The number of participants is limited by the facilities, so conference attendees must register by Friday, October 23.  We reserve the right to refuse participation to anyone who does not qualify under the conference charter described above.  
Conference Registration
$50 per person will be collected to cover conference facilities and Saturday’s food & beverages.   Click here to register and submit payment
Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs.
The West Kelowna Holiday Inn is offering a special rate of $90/night for conference participants.  Please contact the hotel directly at 250-768-8879.
For more information about the conference agenda, contact:
Jeff Brown Chair, Forestry Advisory Committee Apex Property Owners Association Ph. 240-461-9337 jeff@brownjj.com
For conference rooms/logistics questions, contact:
Lyndie Hill   Ph. 250-490-6084 lyndie@hoodooadventures.ca  
  3
Conference Agenda
Session Topic Participants Time  Continental Breakfast  8:30 – 9:00 Intro Opening Remarks:   Why are we here? Jeff Brown 9:00 – 9:30
Issues
Identifying the Issues: Stakeholders will summarize their: 1) concerns with current forestry practices in recreation areas, and  2) their experience with the current stakeholder consultation process
Workgroups1 9:30 – 10:30
Coffee Break:    Participant networking    Collation of workgroup results2
 10:30 – 11:00
Issues Presentation of Results: Presentation, Q&A, Clarification Workgroup Facilitator 11:00 – 12:00  Lunch  12:00 – 12:30 Solutions Overview: Current forest regulation and practices Jeff Brown 12:30 – 1:00
Solutions
Exploring Possible Solutions: Stakeholders will summarize what is working and opportunities for improvement
Workgroups 1:00 – 2:30
Coffee Break:    Participant networking    Collation of workgroup results
 2:30 – 3:00
Solutions Presentation of Results: Q&A, Discussion
Workgroup Facilitator 3:00 – 3:30
Next Steps
Where to from here: Brainstorming Consensus building Volunteers for Action leadership
All 3:30 – 4:30
Next Steps
A Future Action Plan Together:  Summary of Next Steps Call to Action
Jeff Brown 4:30 – 5:00
Social Participants are encouraged to organize an informal Saturday evening social event.
Those staying overnight in Kelowna
5:00 - ?:??
Notes: 1. Each workgroup will be assisted by a laptop-equipped note taker. 2

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Canada's election; forests and the green economy

Canada's election campaign is a horse race between Conservatives, Liberals and The New Democratic Party (NDP).  The latter two parties are toward the social democratic end of the political spectrum and their splitting of the vote may allow the Conservatives to retain leadership with only approximately 30% of the popular vote. Any party has time to squeeze into the leading position for the vote in about two weeks.

All the parties are working hard to attract votes. One of the big issues is transportation infrastructure for commuters in large cities. Eighty percent of Canadians live in cities, so politicians are eager to capture votes from cities. Most of the parties are making some noise about different schemes to reduce carbon emissions. There is also some talk about Canada trying to do more in the way of value adding instead of shipping raw resources out the door for the fastest possible dollar. The NDP have promised some funds to increase forestry jobs but otherwise forests have received little attention in the campaign.

 Canada is a huge country and  no one seems to be asking why most of the population is crowded into southern cities that get so congested that high cost rapid transit is needed. Canada's natural resources are located in the hinterland but these big cities are the financial, supply, transportation or port centers for the resource economy. Many resource dependent communities barely have sidewalks while the cities tend to be better appointed and more attractive to most. Cities that feel entitled and have the votes to exercise their entitlement will continue to be a force toward a " rob the hinterland " type of economy. This outlook has not been good for sustainable stewardship of forests or the most effective use of other natural resources.

Canada has a Green party and it is looking to increase its seats in Parliament. Other parties are making green talk about reducing carbon emissions and renewable green energy. Canada's best contribution toward global climate stability is maintaining healthy forests. The largest terrestrial carbon stock on the planet is contained in boreal forests. It is greater than tropical forests and Canada has about 30% of the world's boreal forests.

Perhaps the greatest flaw in Canadian democracy is that it represents the people in cities and the greater area of our geography has little place or standing in our system or way of thinking. Canada has an upper house called the Senate. It is a mirror of the House of Lords in the Westminster system of government. It is populated by appointees, mainly political hacks, that relish a good expense account. An elected senate could represent area, the geography of the country and in so doing would give greater voice to Minorities such as First Nations and French speaking people.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Truck Loggers search for sustainability

The Truck Loggers Association has been a force for change in BC forestry. It is a forest contractor association that has been vocal about it's members being financially squeezed by major forest corporations. Their Truck Logger BC magazine contains regular grumbling about this problem and nothing much has changed for their members. Contractors have taken the brunt of recent difficulties in the forest sector.

The summer 2015 issue re-frames the issue as one of contractor sustainability. This is probably an effective avenue toward a solution. They draw on definitions from the 1987 Brundtland Commission to support their concept of contractor sustainability. Adequate compensation for work done in the forest enables the contractor to invest in new and innovative equipment and maintain a safe stable work force. This enables efficient forest operations and better environmental protection. The forest and forest dependent communities benefit from stability and sustainability. The Truck Loggers have a winning argument.

The Truck Loggers Association view is supported in an international forest sustainability agreement called the Montreal Process. Criterion 6 of that agreement has several indicators that match their views. The "distribution of revenues derived from forest management" is a central concern of Truck Loggers and is the heading of indicator under Criterion 6. While the Montreal Process supports contractor and community stability, it also takes a comprehensive view of all aspects of forest conservation and sustainable forest management. Good stewardship for ensure forest health, productivity, stable soils, good water quality are covered. Truck Loggers will understand that these are vital for contractor sustainability.

The final Criterion of the Montreal Process concerns the legal and institutional arrangements that support sustainable forest management. We do not tend to think that these are very important. Also we tend to accept our Provincial arrangements without much question or analysis. British Columbia's Crown forests were retained in public ownership to ensure their sustainable management. The foundation is very strong but some of the structures we have built on top of the foundation were designed for post WWII economic expansion and have since resulted in some sustainability problems. The legal arrangements for managing public forests should involve responsibilities for sustainable stewardship. However, we try to manage forests in BC under rights to harvest. Forest corporations hold or control most of these rights. Forest contractors get squeezed because they are little guys working for the big timber rights holders. Truck Loggers do not want to bite the hand that feeds but they need to realize that without some change in this core issue, their lot will not improve in the future.

Aboriginal title is a change agent. We think hat aboriginal title can somehow be absorbed or co-opted under the present arrangements for forest management. Aboriginal title is not compatible with our present arrangements because it is a more advanced concept. It is not an ownership concept but a delegation of responsibility to a community group to sustain the land and forest for the benefit of future generations. Aboriginal title needs its own legal and institutional arrangements. There is the need for some democratic elected board that represents the community and professional resource managers that can plan and manage for sustainability. A local community based sustainable forest trust is much more likely to place priority on contractor sustainability than a large forest corporation.
The concept of the community based sustainable trust in Aboriginal title is one that has wider application to all forest dependent communities in British Columbia. Contractor sustainability, the goal of the Truck Loggers, would be on a much stronger foundation under local sustainable trusts than under the present arrangements.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lowa Renegade Hiking Shoes at 3 500 kilometers

The regular or serious hiker needs good robust footwear. While the last 50 years has seen some technical advances in shoes particularly the soles of running shoes, quality of construction and durability of shoes has taken a nosedive. I can recommend a product that combines the best of new sole technology with a quality of upper seldom available in the last half century.

Lowa Renegades come in a hiking shoe or a hiking boot. To get top quality hiking footwear, you usually have to settle for a European hiking boot because hiking shoes often tend to be less durable. Lowa hiking shoes do not compromise on the quality or durability of construction of the hiking boot.

We have been using a men's leather lined pair of Lowa renegade shoes and a women's synthetic lined pair. After 3 500 kilometers of use, the soles are showing a little wear but will probably provide another 3 500 kilometers of use before the tread is completely worn. The Men's pair have a Vibram sole and the women's are not. However the women's pair seems to equally durable and showing less wear.

The synthetic lining of the women's pair wore through at the heel, but this was easily repaired with a leather insert. The leather lining of the men's pair is not showing any wear. You might expect leather lining to be too warm in hot weather. However, it is in hot weather that leather lining is an advantage. Leather absorbs moisture and does not become wet, like synthetic linings. The feet stay free of blisters.

After 3 500 kilometers, other quality European hiking boots often show heavy creasing at the flex points in the upper. The Lowa renegades are not showing creasing and the stitching is intact and new looking. Winters in coastal British Columbia are wet and the constant wetting and drying of shoes tend to be hard on leather. Lowa seems to be using good quality leather.

Leather hiking shoes need regular maintenance with polish or shoe cream. Salt from sweat is harmful to leather. In the fall, I soak the shoes in lukewarm water for an hour to remove accumulated salt. Dry the shoes and follow up with a leather conditioner, a waterproofing agent, and polish or cream in that order. This restores the flexibility to the leather.

Sole of some hiking shoes loose their integrity much before 3 500 kilometers. The material commonly employed in the mid-sole of running or hiking shoes is EVA or ethylene vinyl acetate. This material tends to compress and the sole looses its integrity. It becomes floppy and you can feel every projecting rock in the trail. The better quality and more durable hiking shoes and boots use polyurethane in the mid-sole and it stands up to much more use. Lowa Renegades have a polyurethane mid-sole and a different method is used to wrap the sole to the upper. This makes for a light and stable sole.

Lowa hiking shoes or boots are a relatively expensive purchase, but they will provide the regular hiker very low costs per kilometer because they will outlast two or three pairs of average hiking shoes or boots. In Canada, Lowa hiking shoes and boots are available from Sport Dinaco

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Letter to the editor of the BC Forest Professional

Perspectives on aboriginal title in the last edition were timely given the release of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Geoff Plant spelled out reconciliation in terms of forests as full participation by aboriginal people in the forest economy.
While the viewpoints were well informed and interesting, they somewhat sidestepped essential truth about aboriginal title. It is a community based sustainable trust that devolves trusteeship from the Province. It is incompatible with the existing legal and institutional framework of timber harvesting rights under the Forest Act. If we try to manage aboriginal title under the Forest Act, it will reduce aboriginal trusteeship to a child that has to be supervised and we will have a situation that mirrors the problems of the Indian Act.
The community based sustainable trust concept of aboriginal title is an advanced concept that needs a legal and institutional framework to make it work. It needs some form of democratic representation from the community and it requires some trained professional resource managers.
The best way to make aboriginal title compatible within a framework for sustainable stewardship of Crown forest is to turn the rest into local trusts. Forest dependent communities have been somewhat dispossessed of their healthy forests by the existing framework of harvesting rights. Local trusts could reconcile the situation and bring sustainability.  In some areas, there will be competing aboriginal title and community forest claims. One local trust can be designated and a ward system from the various aboriginal and other communities can make up the board of governance. Trained forest professionals would supply management on all aboriginal and other Crown forest under devolved local stewardship.

Aboriginal title is an advanced concept of a sustainable community forest trust that should apply to all forest dependent communities. We need a new legal and institutional framework to make it work. Rub all communities with the same brush.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Oh Canada, do we stand on guard?


Eighty percent of Canadians live in cities. Major media sources are situated in our southern cities.  Our new digital media devices put us a virtual world far removed from the natural spaces of Canada. Human ecology or the interaction of people and the environment is strongly affected by the democratic, legal and institutional framework in a country.  Our democracy represents the people, but is it a tyranny of a southern urban majority against the land?
An opinion editorial in the city newspaper complains about a billion dollar expenditure on a big project up north. Instead, the money should be spent on a more worthy cause of new transportation to relieve congestion in the big city.  A segment on the evening television news advocates giving czar like powers to mayors of major cities. A mayor acting as the chairperson of the municipal council does not have power commensurate with the great populations and economic muscle of these places. Do our urban perspectives distort our understanding of Canada, and affect the sustainable development and protection of our natural spaces?
Our notions of the great Canadian hinterland do not start up in the far north or Arctic. The hinterland is anywhere north of the urbanized south. (Yes, Alberta we do know that your capital is a bit further north, but you also whack your hinterland in pursuit of tarry dollars.)  A major feature of Canada's democracy is our Federal system with Provincial Governments. The powers devolved to Provinces are considerable. These visionary  arrangements were intended to make government of differing Canadian regions practical and effective. Even with the division of Canada into Provinces, there remains considerable variety of geographic and environmental conditions within the larger Provinces and Territories.  About sixty percent of Canada's First Nations languages are found in British Columbia because it has the greatest variety of terrain, climate and environment.
Much of Canada's economy is already dependent on renewable resources such as forestry, agriculture, and water, supplemented by gas, oil and mineral resources situated in a mid belt across the country. This swath of the country already has a history of multiple ghost towns, and male dominated work camps.  Permanence, social stability and sustainability are not evident, and towns often lack sidewalks and other amenities expected in southern cities.  There is a southern city bias in our democracy.
Ownership of extensive Crown or public lands makes Provincial Governments trustees of huge swaths of the Canadian landscape. The benefits of democracy and sustainability were intended to be extended to lands and forests through the enduring trusteeship of governments.  Provincial politicians have used the wealth of these places to hold power and attract our votes.  Politicians have greater regard for the instruments of power than for the care of land. Moving the trusteeship of public lands from capital city centers closer to resource dependent communities would represent progress in democracy and sustainability.
Binging on abundant natural resources was a feature of the early development of North America by Europeans. The Passenger Pigeon, once the most numerous bird on the planet, was quickly reduced from a population of three billion to extinction.  Their habitat was reduced by exploitation of forests in eastern North America. When there were just a few Passenger Pigeons left in captivity in the early years of the Twentieth Century, British Columbia decided to retain its forests in public ownership and manage them by a independent professional forest service. The intent was to protect forests from privateers and develop a sustainable forest products industry and stable forest dependent communities. A century later, the virgin forest assets have been somewhat depleted and the forest industry and dependent communities are facing sustainability difficulties.
A century of BC Government administrations failed to ensure sustainability of public forests because binging on the hinterland to feed the center or cities was and remains, the accepted norm in Canada. Forest management was shared with corporate timber interests that gained private timber harvesting rights in public forests. The right to harvest crops from land is hardly the best stewardship arrangement to ensure sustainability. This type of lease, known as a usufruct, was first developed by the Roman Empire to facilitate the flow of wealth from the hinterlands to Rome.  First Nations people understand the colonial attitude of central Provincial or Federal Governments.  Resource dependent communities are starting to realize that they are in the same boat.
Canada is a country with a peaceful and almost boring history with few social conflicts.  In recent years, environmental issues out in the hinterland have been friction points. Forest harvesting, mines or pipeline construction have sparked polarized disputes and civil disobedience. The polarity in these disputes is often hatched in cities. The movers and shakers conceive them high in a city skyscrapers with intentions of making much money as fast as possible. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a city based environmental organization will want to stop any development or save an area by giving it a protected area or park designation.  Local communities near the proposed development are forced to takes sides. The polarized proposals may not offer the best long term stability for these communities. 
Short term economic forces often win resource development disputes. Usually, the developments involve rapid resource exploitation. The forces of global capitalism, large sometimes international corporations, governments and state institutions advance these developments.  Billions of dollars in gold were taken out of the Giant Gold Mine at Yellowknife and the public were left with the expense of dealing with arsenic waste.  The rest of us, help the effort along by voting for the politician with the usual tune: "It's about the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs."  Does our economy need to be dependent on moving to the next natural resource binge when the last one is depleted. The latest form of promotional political gas in British Columbia is liquefied natural gas.  What kind of sovereign nation orchestrates the exploitation of its rural environments from distant city centers at the behest of international corporate forces?  If this is the kind of sovereignty Prime Minister Harper intends for the Arctic, he should wave the Canadian flag elsewhere.
Canada needs some new institutional and constitutional arrangements.  The recent Canada Supreme Court decision on aboriginal title specifies a devolved trusteeship. Aboriginal title does not supply individual ownership, but the right of an aboriginal group to sustain the values of an area of land for present and future generations. It is an advanced concept that should be applied to all resource dependent communities. Devolution of trusteeship of public lands and forests from Provincial capitals to local areas or regions is a promising solution.  A responsible institutional arrangement would be a local trust with and elected board and professional resource managers to ensure sustainability. Media articles on aboriginal title have focused on the impact on existing privateers on public lands. Revenue sharing is seen as the solution. Provincial governments have long experience of resource development revenue sharing. It is not foundation for sustainability, but an incentive for over-exploitation. It is the mechanism used by governments to transfer wealth from the hinterland to the city.  It has been the primary motivator for the failure of provincial governments to exercise adequate trusteeship of public lands and the environment.
At the national or federal level, we need to think about constitutional  arrangements that will move the focus from our overgrown southern cities to more stable communities and economic development within the middle belt across Canada. An economy that refines, processes and adds value to raw resources will give more employment and long term stability. We need not add to Canada's long list of ghost towns and male dominated work camps. Male dominated work camps are not a feature of the city, except perhaps the House of Commons.
Canada's Parliament and constitutional democracy embeds southern city bias and perspectives because our elected House of Commons represents population. The present 41st Parliament will go down in history as the time of the Senate scandal. We should hardly be surprised that there are a few pigs at the trough in this unelected remnant of the feudal House of Lords. Rather than just report the titillating details of the scandal, the media should view the problem as an indicator that Canada needs to make some improvements to its democracy and constitution.  The first option is to abolish the Senate. The media aired this idea for a few days until it was determined that a constitutional reform effort involving the provinces would be needed.  Too difficult and lengthy to attempt, it seems.  Progressive reform of the Senate got little media attention for the same reason. Canada was not built by backing away from difficulties or challenges. The terrain, climate and biology of Canada are challenging.  We need to remember where we live, and we need vision for this land.
The media interviewer, like most Canadians, is a little too polite, with a tendency to swallow any answer, and a reluctance to press hard questions. Politicians have wallowed in the Senate scandal and tried to score points by throwing mud. None of the political parties has offered real solutions for reform. Constitutional reform involving the Provinces is possible and can be accomplished. This should not be accepted as an excuse for failure to make democratic progress through Senate reform. The real reluctance is centered around the fact a democratically elected Senate would mean a reversal of the trend toward concentration of power in the Prime Minister's office. An elected Senate that represents areas, cultures and places could supply needed balance in Canada's democracy. Such a Senate would not give us the problems of US democracy.
An elected Senate is not just an abstract political concept. It will bring real economic and social benefits to Canada.  First Nations, Inuit and French cultures will feel more at home in Canada. Area based representation will move Canada's focus from the southern developed strip. Southern cities are already experiencing the effects of over population.
Senate reform needs to involve the Provinces. However, some simple formula for a fixed number of senators from each province, as is the case in USA, will not suit Canada's geography. Major cities are places that could elect a senator. Representation of regions, rural areas or geographic regions within Provinces and Territories would be the central component of Senate seat constituencies. French, Inuit and First Nations cultures also need to be represented. Obviously, there will be considerable debate owing to the varied nature of our geography and history. Prince Edward Island will want at least one Senate seat although it has approximately eighteen percent of the area and population of Vancouver Island. The problems are not completely intractable and some flexibility will be required.

Canada heads towards another federal election and the media needs to keep solutions to the defunct Senate on the agenda. At elections, the average Joe realizes that he is just being tweaked by favorable noises in an agenda set by politicians. The main aim is for a few politicians to gain power for a few years.  Considerable apathy at elections is to be expected. The media can play an important role in expanding the agenda and election debates.  An elected and effective Senate would widen the distribution of power in Parliament and protect democracy.  Senate reform is an opportunity for a new vision for the country, to move to a more mature and stable economy through greater processing and better use of our natural resources. It will mean a better quality of environment and greater stability of communities in Canada's mid belt. A Senate that represents land area and cultures will balance the representation of population. It will bring better stewardship to the environment and extend democracy to the land.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The road that became a Park trail and its footprint


About seventy years ago, loggers were harvesting old growth trees along a coastal inlet in British Columbia. Inlets are really fjords, glacial valleys with steep U shaped sides. A good way to harvest these areas is to place winches on a floating barge on the salt water inlet.  A big A frame made of logs at least one hundred feet long was raised on the barge and a loop of cable for logging would run through massive pulley blocks on top of the A Frame. Logs could be pulled by cable over a distance of one kilometer.

At the distant end of the logging, cables would run through tail block pulleys that were sometimes raised far above the ground on trees that had been topped and rigged with guy line cables. Getting the heavy cables and blocks out to the far end of the logging was a bit of a job. In this case, the loggers decided to build a road with a bulldozer to get to far end of the area. Since the bulldozer road would not be used by logging trucks they exceeded normal maximum gradients of approximately 20% and went at over 20% and 30% for almost a kilometer. The loggers left and the forest regenerated naturally and the area's sensitive sites recovered. Forests are resilient. However, the bulldozer road started to erode and has eroded to this day. Accelerated erosion associated with access is potentially the most serious impact of forestry activity. Even trails in parks or protected areas can be subject to accelerated erosion. Excessive gradients and locating access in the wrong place are the two most common causes of accelerated erosion.

Reputable forest companies in British Columbia had standards for gradient control on forest roads even eighty years ago. Towards the end of last century more attention was being paid to erosion control on forest roads in BC. There were rehabilitation programs to stop accelerated erosion on existing forest roads. Government and industry developed methods of temporary and permanent deactivation of forest roads to reduce erosion. Public pressure for better forest practices helped to bring these improvements and a movement to save more forests in parks or protected areas.

In a paradoxical turn of fate, the eroding road near the inlet was in an area of high biodiversity and it became a park. It had been saved. Only the salvation was a little peculiar. If it had remained in a timber producing forest it would have seen stewardship in the form of permanent deactivation involving cross draining to end the accelerated erosion.  The road's saved status put it under the protection of a park agency that is under funded and never had the capacity to develop gradient control and other standards for trails. They tried a minimum fix of a little drainage and even added some wooden steps on parts of the road that were very steep. This soon failed after one or two rain storms.

The physical problems of the road are egregious but its routing sends park users along an unsafe boring trail with many opportunities to go off the trail onto rocky sites that are harbor rare plants and animals. Its strategic routing in the park is a conservation disaster.

A retired forester with forest engineering volunteered time to find and locate a gradient controlled relocation that would enable the deactivation of the eroding road and provide hikers with a more interesting trail with viewpoints and points of interest while avoiding sensitive sites. The intent was to attract volunteers from a nearby city to build the new access to sustainable standards.

The park agency remains in the minimum fix paradigm, so the old eroding logging road lives on as an unsafe eroding trail with other serious conservation issues. The accelerated erosion continues. A continued footprint of poor stewardship is saved in a park. The loggers of seventy years ago probably did not know any better, but what about a park agency?


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forest Design and Habitecture

In an article in the Truck Logger BC magazine, Les Kiss of the Coast Forest Products Association promotes the idea of intelligent forest design. The approach to managing wildlife habitat and other sensitive sites in the public forests of British Columbia has been more knee jerk than intelligent. While it is sometimes necessary to protect a habitat from forest harvesting, reserves should not be the only approach. A wildlife species may benefit from younger forest or forest edges in the vicinity. In many instances habitat can be improved or supplemented by forest harvesting or treatment. Silvicultural systems other than clear-cutting can sometimes be employed to improve habitat. Forest design can also be employed to reduce the aesthetic impact of forest activities on the landscape over the long term. The shapes of clear cut harvesting blocks can be designed to blend rather than conflict with landscape features. While the BC resident will be concerned about the appearance of clear cuts in the landscape, it is interesting to note that the first efforts in visual forest design occurred in the UK where reforestation efforts were establishing forests on bare hills often protected by the straight lines of deer fences. There was negative reaction to straight line forests rather than straight line clear-cuts.

The intended outcome of intelligent forest design is greater certainty in the supply of timber resulting in greater community stability for both humans and other species. Forest design of habitats or habitecture is a long term planning affair and more complex than just protecting core habit in reserves. The managed forest becomes supplemental habitat that includes beneficial features that will need to be dynamically replaced as forestry activity takes place. Some contingency may need to be included to cover for unintended disturbances such as fire or wind damage. Intelligent forest design is a long term affair requiring stable forest stewards that will be there in the local forest.

Les Kiss is a good BC forester promoting a good and necessary idea. I helped the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada FERIC develop a course on forest design for BC about a quarter of a century ago. I expected the good idea to take root and flourish. Most foresters would expect the same, but like many other good technical forestry concepts it did not take root and grow. If a forester plants trees and they do not grow, growing conditions will be closely examined to determine the cause. Some changes will be made and the second attempt will usually be successful.

The soil of our social, cultural and institutional conditions is the reason that good and necessary forest stewardship ideas do not flourish. Eighty percent of Canadians live in cities. Every election we hear that it is all about the economy. What is the Canadian economy mainly about? Extraction of resources from the hinterland is the focus. Forests are just another resource in the hinterland that should be shipped out the door as fast as possible to make a dollar. Where is Canadian long term thinking with respect to tar sands or natural gas reserves? The "make as many dollars now" concept is not compatible with sustainable forest management.

The most important piece of sustainable forest management, that even foresters ignore, is the legal and institutional framework for sustainable forest management. BC has a very robust foundation for sustainable forest management in its public forests. However its arrangements for managing these public forests are unwise because they are built on the "make as many dollars now" idea. The idea works well in the exploitation of forests for a while and then there are problems. We are now trying to deal with the problems under a system that created them in the first place. The primary legal arrangement for managing public forests is under rights to harvest timber. The whole system is built around permissions to harvest and relatively short term responsibilities to regenerate the harvested area. These are not good arrangements for the practice of long term intelligent design of forests, habitats or ecosystems.

We first need some intelligent design of our legal and institutional arrangements for the management of public forests to enable long term forest design and advanced stewardship. A key feature of these new arrangements is that they need to provide long term stewardship. Forest industry associations will promote the idea of long term leases in public forests that permit them to manage the forests over a very long term. Where are the big forest corporations of just a few decades ago? MacMillan Bloedel, BC Forest Products, Crown Zellerbach all have disappeared. Would forest corporations manage the forests in the public or their own interests?  Will long term leases be just a stepping stone in the enclosure of public forests into the private interest.

Intelligent design of institutional arrangements for managing public forests in the long term should be based on responsibilities for stewardship rather than rights to harvest. The timber producing area of the average forest landscape in BC comprises less than half of the total landscape area. The non timber producing area comprises poor forest, mountain tops, lakes rivers and glaciers. These are areas of virgin undisturbed lands in natural condition with recreation and nature based economic potential. The total area of these undisturbed natural lands is greater than the area of BC's extensive parks and protected areas. The stewards of public forests should be accountable to the public under local democratic arrangements. The stewards of the local forest should have the responsibility for sustaining the forest and all its resources. All the natural capital should be managed for multiple economic and social benefits. The most promising institution is a local democratic forest trust with professional managers. This arrangement is also totally compatible and would provide institutional arrangements for aboriginal title which is really a long term sustainable stewardship trust over the land for the benefit of a community.

If we want to practice intelligent forest design, we first need to design some intelligent arrangement and institutions for the stewardship of our public forests.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Vancouver Island Pilgrimage Trail

While researching for my last blog on forest pilgrimages, a Google query did not yield much about forest pilgrimages across the world. It did yield one ambitious pilgrimage trail idea almost in my own back yard that I did not know about. The Vancouver Island Spine trail intends to be a pilgrimage trail that traverses the entire length of Vancouver Island.

The trail is a good idea and it is in keeping with the sustainable forest management concept of gaining social and economic benefits from the full natural capital of the forest. It is a major project with many and considerable challenges to overcome. To realize the vision we will look at some of these challenges.

Vancouver Island is not a wee island. It is approximately 300 miles or 500 kilometers long and 50 miles or 80 kilometers wide as the crow flies. Although Vancouver Island is elongated in shape and mountainous, the spine trail suggests a ridge of mountains that runs the length of the Island. The geology of the Island is complex and there is no uniform central ridge, but rather complex mountain topography broken by valleys that run in many different directions. Routing the trail is not a simple issue and there multiple options over the entire length. A more easterly route would take the trail closer to the communities on the more populated east side of the Island. This would take the trail through private forest land. Although most forest in BC is public one of the largest blocks of private forest land in British Columbia is in the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway E&N land grant on the east side of Vancouver Island. It was a questionable piece of public land enclosure and investment advice on these lands sometimes notes that the private ownership is tainted. Hopefully the owners will be agreeable. While it is a major challenge to connect a single trail the length of the Island, a more realistic long term view would be a network of trails with optional routing giving a choice of easterly or westerly routes or valley bottom versus mountain top.

The spine trail site notes that traversing coastal rain forests on rough terrain is difficult and simple trails are required. Planning, constructing and maintaining trails on Vancouver Island is far from simple. It is mountainous and there are major rainstorms. Although the east side gets lower annual rainfalls, it gets major rain storm events. These have to be considered in design, location, construction and maintenance. A trail is really a narrow road for people to walk on. Like a road it has to be designed for the machines or animals that will use it. Although some humans can climb up overhangs, most fit people can maintain a marching or flowing gait on gradients up to 15% (15 up for every 100 along).  Foot action tends to gouge trails above 15% unless they are armored, and problems of erosion from water flowing down the trail increase exponentially when the gradient gets above 15%. Trails seldom have all the usual drainage bells and whistles in the form of  drains and culverts that you find in wider vehicle roads. Therefore the location of trails has to be done with greater care than a road. The other major limitation of the human walking machine is that is is barely evolved to remain upright. The trail tread or surface needs to be free of projecting rocks or tripping hazards. Some Park agencies follow the 4 by 4 rule for trail surfaces meaning that there should be no rocks greater than 4 inches within the top 4 inches of the surface. Larger rocks wear out of the surface and become tripping hazards. The most difficult soils for building trails are coarse soils or soils with a lot of rocks. These are the norm over most of Vancouver Island. See: Trails on rocky soils    The following site on planning Sustainable Mountain Trails provides essential advice. Enlisting experienced help such as forest engineers to plan and locate trails would be advantageous. Inexperienced trail locators often have little concept of gradient control. Use instruments such as clinometers to measure gradient. Do not include unnecessary downhill sections in a route that is heading uphill.

There are thousands of kilometers of forest roads on Vancouver Island. Some of these are little used or deactivated and could from part of a trail network. While the forest industry is much criticized, it has been using forest engineering principles and instruments for a century and although there are erosion problems on some forest roads, most forest roads have controlled gradients and the little used or deactivated ones are ready made parts of a trail network. The same cannot be said for trails located in Parks or protected areas.

The Vancouver Island pilgrimage trail is a good idea, but it will take much planning and considerable local volunteer work in the dirt to construct and maintain the trail or trail network.