Letter: A forest needs to breath

Tuesday, April 4 2017

Caring people of Gabriola, the 707 is once again being culled along the main routes in order to allow easy access for fire trucks. Unfortunately, this means they are taking out countless healthy arbutus and other trees/bushes and leaving these piles ready to turn into more tinder. 

The unfortunate part of this work is that in order for the entire island ecosystem to remain healthy it requires fire. Yet the RDN Parks department and Gabriola Fire Department are not allowing this to happen in the 707.

The general public will be the greatest obstruction to this particular effort. It seems our fire department is unaware of the needs for a healthy, robust ecosystem and instead is focusing on truck access for the inevitable. How many trucks and how much water do we actually have? Will all foot paths be logged into roads on all trails? Elder Cedar is dying and needs a fire desperately to revitalize it and will spread to the rest of those trails too. Will every foot path and every trail be recreated into a road? If we simply clear-cut all the trees and shrubs then no one would have to worry about fires we are ill-equipped to deal with... 

If you walk and notice, you’ll have seen the acres and acres of dead fir trees in the 707 where currently there is only a foot path. The current widening/culling will do nothing if this area gets lit, no access for trucks. If any of them notice this area perhaps they will then widen that entire path into a road too? 

This island, the living, breathing part of this island that is not us but without which we would not be, needs our help to engage our wildfire experts in creating controlled fires and to nurture the health of this precious piece of our planet.

If you or anyone you know cares about this and understands the absolute necessity of fire for the survival of the ecosystem and those who use and abuse it, please contact Fire Chief Rick Jackson or the Sounder and promote this at least as an opening for a conversation.

~ I Shantikat