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Cathedral Grove - Is It Saved or were We Suckered Again? PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Wednesday, 23 March 2005 15:19
Cathedral Grove - Is It Saved or were We Suckered Again?

March 23, 2005

Leading up to and following the recent announcement by the BC Liberal Gov't there has been a lot of interest and commentary from the "players" in this issue.  It is par for the course that most of this worthy opinion it did not make the major media.

What follows is a compilation of recent press releases ( and letters) from the "activist" community. They all have a lot to say about this gov't/industry "shell game" - most of their "activist" commentary is just common sense - but then it might be expecting too much from our current gov't to ask for common sense, right?  (Click the "read more" button and then decide for yourself.)

dani rubin, PEJ Earth Editor

Cathedral Grove: The Weyerhaeuser Vision: Another Stumpfield Addition
by Ingmar Lee • Thursday February 17, 2005 at 01:42 AM

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Regarding the latest Weyerhaeuser effort to bilk the BC Public into purchasing
another Steaming Stumpfield to add to Cathedral Grove

Dear Port Alberni Mayor and Council,

Thank you for your email letter to the Friends of Cathedral Grove dated
January 13th, 2005. This was in response to our January 5th 2005 press release
which exposed the secret deal being hatched between Weyerhaeuser and the
provincial government to add 140 hectares of mostly logged out stumpfield to
Cathedral Grove.

You will now have gotten a sense of the extreme frustration that the Friends
of Cathedral Grove have experienced over the secret backroom negotiating which
has gone on over Cathedral Grove. The Park is in the UNESCO Arrowsmith
Biosphere Reserve and the charter for these reserves requires community
involvement. Both the provincial, and regional governments should remember the
commitment they gave when the application was made to the UN to get this
designation. Cathedral Grove is in the Regional District of Nanaimo which is
responsibile for supporting the principles that should govern the functions
under the biosphere "umbrella". The RDN board passed a motion calling for
community involvement in any consideration of the location of the parking
lots. The RDN and Qualicum Beach have been supportive of our efforts. To our
knowledge, Port Alberni and the Alberni-Clayquot Region have not.

One expects that major acquisition transactions should at very least involve
consultation with the City of Port Alberni which has such an enormous stake in
the future of the Grove. For a World-Class park with the international stature
of Cathedral Grove, any provincial government not entirely bought by giant
logging companies would invite an thorough and credible public discussion over
the future of the park. Cathedral Grove is a priceless economic generator for
the mid-Vancouver Island region which will be enhanced by the addition of the
remaining tract of old-growth, not logged out stump-fields.

The Friends of Cathedral Grove believe that a vastly expanded park in the
Cameron Valley, which would encompass ALL the magnificent ancient fir forest
contiguous to Cathedral Grove will offer a far greater revenue to the
economies of the region than a once over clearcut pass by Weyerhaeuser. We
envision such efforts as the creation of a bike/hike trail between Qualicum
Beach and Port Alberni through the Grove along the now abandoned Rail
America/CN Railway line and the improvement of swimming access and camping at
Cameron Lake. Our vision includes respecting the amazing archaeological
resources which can be immediately discovered throughout the remaining ancient
forests of the Cameron Valley, in the form of Culturally Modified Trees. The
protection of such resources will be a valuable way to demonstrate respect,
and to maintain good relations between the City and local First
Nations.Weyerhaeuser has already destroyed countless CMT's in the Cameron
Valley, perhaps illegally, including within the last 21 hectare stumpfield
addition to the Grove, which they sold to BC tax-payers for the rip-off price
of $1.7 million in 1999. CMT stumps can be found in Weyerhaeuser clearcuts
right to the park boundary. It was this logging incursion which has also
exacerbated the wind-throw problem which is damaging Cathedral Grove.

The Friends of Cathedral Grove believe that the City of Port Alberni will be
far more generously rewarded into the future if it would pursue actions to
stop Weyerhaeuser and TimberWest from ripping off their community by the
wanton plunder of raw-log exports. Each of these giant corporations are
thumbing their nose at Port Alberni citizens while exporting more than
1,000,000 cubic metres of raw logs each from the forests surrounding your
city, so that Americans can saw up that timber. Additionally, Weyerhaeuser's
logging plan for the forests adjacent to the Grove was set-up by John Eden of
their South Island Timberlands division which means all the work and wood
would probably go to the East coast of the Island. All Weyerhaeuser logging in
the Cameron Valley is covered by the South Island District meaning that it is
completely out of Port Alberni's logging district, therefore NO LOCAL JOBS!

In 1999, after logging right up to the Cathedral Grove Park boundary,
Weyerhaeuser ripped off the people of BC by selling them a 21 hectare
stumpfield for $1.7 million. The land was useless to Weyerhaeuser and they
simply unloaded a tax-burden. The Gordon Campbell government now claims credit
for adding that stumpfield to the park. The people of BC don't want
Weyerhaeuser's cast-off wastelands added to the park. They want the
magnificent ancient forests which are directly adjascent to the park to be

Please use your powers to denounce that sleazy business, and push instead for
the expropriation of the 400+ hectares of unprotected old-growth forest next
to the Grove to add to the park. This will be a priceless pro-active action
and vision your grandchildren will thank you for.

Sincerely, The Friends of Cathedral Grove


From: "Government of British Columbia" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date: March 14, 2005 3:30:14 PM PST

March 14, 2005
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection


VICTORIA - Alberni-Qualicum MLA Gillian Trumper and Water, Land and Air
Protection Minister Bill Barisoff invite you to an important announcement
about the future of Cathedral Grove and MacMillan Provincial Park.

Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Time: 10 a.m.

B.C. Legislature
2nd Floor near entrance to library


Max Cleeveley
Communications Director
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
250 387-9973


Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Mid-Island
Box 442, Qualicum Beach, BC, V9K lS9, ph. 250 752-6585,  fax:  250 752-7085
email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   www.cathedralgrove.com
Press Release
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Cathedral Grove, the Most Accessible Oldgrowth Temperate Rainforest in the World
Moves Closer Towards Protection

Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada. - After five years of no logging in Cathedral Grove, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee is welcoming today’s announcement by the Government to expand the world famous MacMillan Park by 140 hectares.

“Five years of requests from both the local and international community for the Province to acquire the remaining 500 hectares of Cathedral Grove as a Provincial Park, are finally starting to be realized through the help that the Nature Trust of Canada has provided by working with Weyerhaeuser and the Government towards this goal,” comments Annette Tanner, WCWC spokesperson. 

“ I am very happy that Weyerhaeuser has voluntarily suspended logging in the Grove during this time and I look forward to continuing a good working relationship with Brascan as we work towards the protection of all 500 hectares of oldgrowth remaining in the Grove,” Tanner continues.

“ I am hopeful, now, with this announcement, that the provincial Government will be open to a public input process for determining the future of the park, especially the location and design of a proposed parking lot on the floodplain next to the river,” explains Tanner.

-       for more information phone Annette Tanner, 250 752-6585,-
-       cell 951-5015-



Please foreward far and wide but not to the government!

Mid-Vancouver Island - British Columbia, Canada

Tuesday March 23, 2005


Government expansion of Cathedral Grove does not address ecological
concerns about pay-for-parking in floodplain.  Public consultation is
needed more than ever.


Maureen Sager stated; “The only substantial stand of giant old growth
trees that remains intact in the Cameron Valley has been left outside
the Park.”

Hupacasath First Nation Chief Judith Sayers said; “The recent Supreme
Court of Canada decision in the Haida case was very clear that
consultation must occur where lands could be denuded or damaged.  To
date, Hupacasath have not been consulted on any proposed trails and only
participated in the archaeological survey of the proposed parking lot in
Cathedral Grove.  Consultation has yet to occur."”

Fisheries Biologist Dave Clough said; “Most of the flood channels in the
proposed parking area in Cathedral Grove have fish access during

Small Woodlands Manager Richard Boyce said; “The proposed parking
parking lot and 1.5 km of connecting trails, to be built with dense
gravel,  will create effective dike structures that may prevent the
natural flow of water in this wetland forest floodplain.  More trees
will develop root-rot and become susceptible to high winds making the
area a greater danger to the public while destroying the natural forest
that the park is supposed to protect.”

Sunshine Goldsberry said; “It is wrong of Weyerhaeuser to call this deal
an eco-gift.  They logged right up to the Park boundaries in several
large swathes which made the Park extremely vulnerable to blowdown, and
left their logging roads right across the floodplain which contributes
to drainage problems today.”


MacMillan Park (Cathedral Grove) will be doubled in size at the cost of
$5.5 million according to an announcement made by MLA Gillian Trumper
and Minister of WLAP Bill Barisoff on March 15, 2005.  What was not
disclosed at that time is that most of the land being paid for by the
taxpayers has already been logged by Weyerhaeuser.  The stumps and tree
farm that remain do not provide the tall trees inside the park with the
necessary protection from high winds and species of introduced invasive
vegetation.  If the ancient trees inside the park are to be protected
all of the old growth trees still standing in the Cameron Valley must be

Since 1885 concerned citizens have been working hard to preserve the
entire ancient Douglas Fir forest in the Cameron Valley.  Logging has
continued, felling many of the giant trees. For the last year people
have been living in the forest to protect it from the destruction
proposed by the BC liberals, who plan the construction of a parking lot
which threatens this unique wetland forest.

The nature of Cameron Valley bottom is that water flows on the surface
and flushes through the forest regularly.  Trees suffering  from
root-rot caused by the changing water levels fall periodically, creating
new habitat as nursery logs.  The flow of water meanders through this
wetland forest reacting to frequent, but relatively minor, changes in
the forest floor.

BC LIberal plans to build a pay-per-visit parking lot on the floodplain
of the Cameron River have not provided studies regarding fish habitat,
hydrological flow,  or species at risk which have been observed in the
area. There are fish accessible floodplains throughout the grove and
dedicated biologists are working voluntarily on mapping these areas and
identifying their habitat values to fish, amphibians and wildlife.

A small portion of land on the North side of the Cameron Valley, between
Highway 4 and the railway, is part of the recent park expansion.
However, this area has proven to be of  archaeological significance full
of Culturally Modified Trees.  This brings into to question whether this
is even Weyerhaeuser's land to be giving away or selling.  This is
currently being challenged in the courts by Hupacasath First Nation.

        -  30  -

Attachment #1:   Photo by Richard Boyce
Flooding January 20, 2005 at site for proposed Parking Lot in Cathedral
Typical amounts of seasonal rainfall proved that  the area proposed for
construction of a parking lot periodically becomes submerged by flowing
water as it rushes through this active floodplain.

Attachment #2:  Photo by Richard Boyce
$5.5 million paid for lands logged by Weyerhaeuser
The logged area in the lower portion of this photo is part of the new
Cathedral park expansion while the old growth trees on the slopes are
excluded and subject to logging.

For more info and pictures:    www.cathedralgrove.se



Richard Boyce
P.O.Box 135 Errington, BC V0R 1V0
Phone/Fax: (250) 248-3682
E-mail:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sunshine Goldsberry
Coombs, British Columbia
Phone:  (250) 248-8809
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Hon. Bill Barisoff
Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection
Room 112
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
Phone: (250) 387-1187
Fax: (250) 387-1356
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Chris Kissinger
BC Parks
Recreation Section Head
Vancouver Island Region
Parks and Protected Areas Branch
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
Phone: (250) 337-2415
Fax: (250) 337-5695

Max Cleeveley
Communications Director
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
Phone: (250) 387-9973


Tom Holmes
Vice President of Canadian Timberlands
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited.
5th Floor, Cathedral Place,
925 West Georgia Street
Vancouver BC Canada V6C 3L2
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sarah Goodman
Public Affairs Manager
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited
Phone: (604) 661-8408
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Doug Walker
Executive Director
Nature Trust of British Columbia
(604) 924-9771




To the editor


Cathedral Grove, the tip of the iceberg



While Nature Trust’s new addition to Cathedral Grove is worthwhile, the Carmanah Forestry Society repeats our assertion that the recent acquisition is “woefully inadequate”.  Instead, we side with the local governments in the surrounding areas who have officially endorsed the acquisition of all the remaining old growth adjacent to the park.  We encourage the Nature Trust and all British Columbians to enthusiastically support and donate towards a “Phase 2” that would enlarge the park to include the remaining old growth forest.  Weyerhaeuser’s Tom Holmes, confirmed at the park announcement that his company remained prepared to deal with these lands.    


The government’s pre-election media announcement was usurped through a media leak, which allowed activist Ingmar Lee and myself to attend.  Suspiciously missing from the press kit was a map of the new lands, and information stating the percentage mix of old growth, logged areas and age classes.  Months before, the Friends of Cathedral Grove had misinterpreted flagging tape on trees and the presence of Weyerhaeuser employees as pre-logging activities.  We now realize that Weyerhaeuser had been surveying and evaluating the forest to be exchanged.  Government was negligent in withholding this technical information and set the stage for activists to validly criticize these areas as a “stump farm.”     


During the same announcement, Barisoff, refused to provide a Carmanah-like public process for Cathedral Grove, which could have provided a forum for meaningful input and involvement into planning the revised park.   Upon further questioning, he sidestepped the issue of whether May 18th would be “Arrest Day” (assuming that his government is successful in the upcoming election).  Instead, he stated that his government is “looking at three of four other options”.  Since the protest began, two injuries have resulted from tree climbers falling.  If Minister Barisioff is not going to log and build the parking lot in the present area of protest, then he has a moral obligation to make a public statement to these changes and cancel the existing plans.  Tragic injury and possible deaths can still occur.  


Historically, since Feb 9, 2004, protesters have occupied the entrance road to where Barisoff and local MLA Gillian Trumper wish to build a parking lot.  In the spring of 2004, Barisoff attempted to obtain a Supreme Court injunction that would have seen protesters arrested, without rights, as took place in 1993 at Clayoquot Sound.  Defiant protesters such as Lee would likely spend a season or two in jail under such an injunction, trees would be cut and an ill planned parking lot created in prime elk habitat.  Ironically the protesters may have saved the government money, as the site of the proposed parking lot was heavily flooded this winter and would have surely damaged the development had it been completed.  (see photos www.cathedralgrove.com).  


The government’s attempt was blocked by Cameron Ward and Associates (retained by Carmanah Forestry Society).  Ward succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to avoid entering into land-use conflicts until all available legal remedies had been exhausted.   This left the government in a quandary, as if they chose to take legal action they would have been restricted to prosecuting for the crime of trespass, which would have likely resulted in minimal penalty to protesters rather than months in jail.  Facing a real risk of a full-blown protest in the summer of 2004, the government chose to back down. 


It is time to resolve Cathedral Grove for once and for all.  Barisoff needs to show leadership and initiate a Phase 2 for Cathedral Grove land acquisition.  He also needs to publicly cancel existing plans to log and build in the elk habitat.  He needs to provide an open and meaningful public process for Cathedral Grove.  Government needs to obtain funding to resurrect services slashed by Glen Clark and his own Premier so that all Parks across the province will have funding returned.  Wilderness areas need to be made accessible once again, not for the super rich or offshore investors, but for all British Columbians to enjoy.  With hundreds of millions of tax dollars promoting the international timber industry, surely government can afford to provide an adequate park system and especially to complete Cathedral Grove.


Syd Haskell, President

Carmanah Forestry Society

1431 Richardson St




Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 March 2005 15:19

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