Citizens of Port Blanchard plan to oppose provincial government decision
“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