Clearcut­ting con­cerns

Cit­i­zens of Port Blan­chard plan to op­pose provin­cial gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Front page - BY JONATHAN PAR­SONS Jonathan.par­sons@thep­acket.ca Twit­ter: @je­j­par­sons

“This is dev­as­ta­tion in the mak­ing,” says Cliff Matthews about a planned clear cut of a block of for­est be­tween Port Bland­ford and Thor­burn Lake.

Matthews and fel­low Port Bland­ford cit­i­zen Garfield White say they were taken by sur­prise when they heard that two con­trac­tors had been granted per­mis­sion to clear in the area, start­ing in April.

“They’re go­ing to cut from the (South West) river, right past the power line,” White told The Packet last week. “That’s go­ing to be noth­ing but stumps … this is re­ally ex­treme.”

White and Matthews are mem­bers of a group formed to protest the clearcut­ting. Linda Davis and Adam Green­ing are also on the com­mit­tee.

Both men say the back coun­try in this area is ex­ten­sively used for tourism. They also worry about how the land­scape will look if the clear cut goes ahead.

“You’d never be­lieve the (amount of) peo­ple who come into Port Bland­ford to buy gas and sup­plies to go into the coun­try on snow ma­chines and quads or what­ever,” said Matthews.

“We’re go­ing to lose a lot of busi­ness.”

Matthews also fears the fate of the sal­mon river in the area.

“The root sys­tem is what keeps Garfield White and Cliff Matthews.

our earth to­gether … ev­ery­thing slopes to­wards (the South­west) River. So all the runoff is all go­ing to run out into this river,” Matthews pre­dicts.

There could be fur­ther ef­fects on the en­vi­ron­ment, they warn, not­ing the clearcut could lead to higher winds on the Trans Canada High­way through the area.

“That’s our shield,” said Matthews. “(Clearcut­ting) will change the cli­mate here in Port Bland­ford.”

And they won­der about pos­si­ble neg­a­tive ef­fects on Port Bland­ford’s wa­ter shed.

Ac­cord­ing to White rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the forestry depart­ment told him there are en­dan­gered pine marten in the A sub­mit­ted photo of an ex­am­ple of the clearcut­ting res­i­dents of Port Bland­ford say is com­ing to their area. This clearcut is sev­eral years old on the forestry road be­tween Port Bland­ford and Bun­yan’s Cove.

area, but as­sured that a study con­ducted by the depart­ment

de­ter­mined they could still do the clearcut­ting.

As for the rea­son­ing for the clearcut­ting, White says he was told it was ap­proved for new for­est growth, while cre­at­ing work for har­vesters. But he at­tests the woods, at least most of it, is mostly made up of large, healthy for­est. He sus­pects lum­ber com­pa­nies have lob­bied gov­ern­ment to have ac­cess to the area.

“When you get to Port Bland­ford you’ll see a sign, ‘Watch out for pot­holes and pull up a stump’ be­cause that’s all that’s go­ing to be left here!” pro­claimed an an­i­mated White.

The Packet con­tacted the Depart­ment of Fish­ery and Land Re­sources for fur­ther com­ment last week. How­ever, of­fi­cials from the depart­ment did not pro­vide in­for­ma­tion by dead­line.

How­ever, the five-year plan for zone 2 — in­clud­ing maps and de­tails on the area iden­ti­fied for clear cut­ting near Port Bland­ford — is avail­able on their web­site at: http://www.mae.gov. nl.ca/en­v_assess­ment/projects/ Y2016/1865/in­dex.html.

Mean­while, White and Matthews and other con­cerned cit­i­zens don’t plan to let the mat­ter drop.

They held a pub­lic meet­ing on Tues­day night, Feb. 20, at Port Bland­ford.

The Packet will have more on this story on our web­site: www. thep­acket.ca

JONATHAN PAR­SONS PHOTO

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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