Before you make up your mind about the future of logging on the Six Mountains of North Cowichan, I invite you to take a stroll up the trail at the base of Mt. Prevost. It starts opposite the entrance to the CVRD Bings Creek transfer station. You will walk through a lush, rich and diverse naturally regenerated second growth forest. You will see trees of many species, including Douglas and grand fir, hemlock, maple, alder and dogwood. Some large and mature, some very young and supple, but all adding to the beauty and complexity that make up this thriving forest ecosystem. The sides of the trail are lined and thick with snow berry, huckleberry, salal and Oregon grape, all of which provide food for the birds that sing in the branches and the rodents, deer, bear and elk that frequent, fertilize and depend on these woods.
After about 20 minutes of a mostly gradual incline, you will come to the sudden, stark contrast of what could aptly be described as a forest wasteland or a mono-culture plantation/tree farm. It is heavily treed with evenly spaced Douglas firs, all roughly the same height and diameter, estimated to be about 35 years old. No other trees of any kind can be seen. Looking around you will see almost nothing green except a few scattered patches of moss. No low branches for deer or elk to browse. No ferns, no salal, no Oregon grape, berries or foulage of any kind, and not surprisingly no birds singing in the branches. To see anything green, you need to look up to the interlocking canopy of fir branches, so thick that hardly a ray of sunshine or a breath of wind can penetrate it.
I don’t think that you could stand in the middle of this tree farm that looks and feels so barren and desolate and believe that this is the future we should seek or even allow for the Six Mountains of North Cowichan, or in fact for any of the very few remaining splinters of intact forests of BC. If you think that I am misguided or mistaken, I invite you to please take that easy 20 minute stroll through the natural and beautiful municipal forest at the base of Mount Prevost, until you reach and see for yourself the devastation and desolation that is an industrial tree farm.