Friday, April 24, 2009


Richard Boyce films a special management zone along Klaskish Creek on Vancouver Island, this is the highest standard of logging in BC according to Ministry of Forests.

Last week someone working for Natural Resources Canada contacted me through my website with the following e-mail message: “Hi - I am looking for some dramatic photos of our fabulous old growth forests. Doesn't have to be Vancouver Island, but the big trees are on the west coast. Do you have licensed photos we could purchase for a display for the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers.” After a quick internet search I found their website:

I soon learned that this council includes all of the Forest Ministers and/or Natural Resource Ministers, for every province and territory in Canada along with the Federal Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources. “Governments working in partnership to ensure Canada remains a world leader in Sustainable Forest Management and supports a competitive forest sector.”

Upon closer inspection I realized that this council is the governing body responsible for green-washing the Canadian forestry industry. They lobby foreign governments around the world with presentations, which shows the world that the last of Canada’s old growth forests are for sale. They claim that regulations have changed and the environmental impact of logging has been reduced.

This government council is spending taxpayers’ money to promote a forestry industry, which continues to destroy the ancient forests of Canada at an ever-increasing rate with devastating consequences to both the environment and forestry workers. Logging continues to destroy watersheds while more lives have been lost in forestry in Canada than in the Canadian military overseas in recent years. Raw log exports increase and at the same time far fewer Canadians are being employed in the forestry industry than in past years.

The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers asked me to provide beautiful photographs of an almost extinct rainforest to help sell the last few old growth trees to foreign markets so that mostly international corporations can cut down the last few stands of ancient forest in Canada. I responded with a series of photographs of the ancient rainforest that I have taken over the past few years from all over Vancouver Island, which illustrate the reality of logging devastation.

I also included the following text:

With regards to your request for photographs of big trees, I am very interested in providing you with “some dramatic photos of our fabulous old growth forests.” However, due to the practices of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests there are very few such giant trees left. The biggest, oldest, and healthiest specimens are found only in the lush valley bottoms. Of the original 85 watersheds found on Vancouver Island at least 80 have been clear-cut logged and the majority of those left pristine are having logging roads built into them as I write this letter.

98% of those lush rainforests on Vancouver Island, where the largest, tallest, and oldest trees in Canada once grew, have already been cut down. Much of what little is left is not preserved and will be cut down in the next few decades. Any discrepancy in statistics is due to questionable methods of calculation used by the BC Forest Ministry which includes counting rocky mountain tops, the surface areas of lakes, and areas where trees seldom grow to make up a higher percentage of land mass which has not been logged.

Attached you will find a few examples of my life-long pursuit to photograph the rainforest of Vancouver Island. I have included a proportionate number of pristine images to reflect the current state of this incredible forest. That photo is of a Culturally Modified Tree, which was used more than 150 years ago to extract natural pitch for building, ceremony, and medicinal purposes. Notice that the tree is still very much alive and healthy today although it was used as a ‘Natural Resource’ by several generations of First Nations People.

I followed this with a request to everyone on my e-mail list, to send their own message and photos of logging to the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. I encourage you to do the same. Their detailed contact information is readily available on their website:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


“A young bear cub shot with my camera on Vancouver Island”

Walking at Top Bridge Regional Park I heard many gun shots from the adjacent rifle range. By the thundering retorts I could tell that these were big guns. Then I remembered that the BC Liberals introduced a spring hunt for Black Bear and Cougar, when they first came to power in 2001.

At the time there was considerable public outrage, but most people have forgotten all about it today, yet the hunt continues and today many Black Bears and Cougars are being shot to death. On Vancouver Island there is an open hunting season on Black Bear from April 1 to June 15. This follows the fall hunt that was open September 6 through December 10, 2008.

Fish and Wildlife BC used to restrict hunting of bears to the fall only because in the spring the sows are with very young cubs. Shooting the mothers tends to seal the fate of the little ones to death through starvation or predation. Black Bear cubs live with their mother for at least a year, learning everything there is to know about being a bear. During the winter, bears on Vancouver Island are in semi-hibernation and the sows give birth to their cubs. In early spring bears begin to move around, foraging for fresh grass sprouts and various young plant shoots.

Today a BC residents can buy a hunting license for $20 to hunt down and kill Black Bears. A gall bladder fetches $500 and the paws about $100 each on the illegal parts market. In 2001 the official wildlife count by the BC Ministry of Environment recorded 12,000 Black Bear living on Vancouver Island. By 2008 more than 1/3 of the population had been killed, with current estimates at between 7,000 - 8,000 Black Bears.

Hunters can also shoot Cougars anytime between September 2 and June 15. The typical method humans use to hunt Cougar is with a team of dogs, often with a radio collar, who chase the mountain lion until it climbs a tree. The hunters then locate their dogs and shoot the cougar out of the tree. In 1995 an estimated 750 Cougars lived on Vancouver Island but their population has been decimated to half that number with approximately 300-400 recorded by Fish & Wildlife BC in 2008.

In the early 1960s, sports fishermen and hunters lobbied the BC government to open all forestlands to the public for recreational purposes. Agreements were made between the private and public sectors, which have benefited millions of people by allowing countless trips for camping, fishing, hunting, birding, mountain biking, canoeing, hiking, swimming, and other recreational activities. In recent years both logging corporations and the BC government have imposed restrictions that reduce public access to forestlands.

In a conversation I had with Ronda Murdock, co-owner/operator of Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours, she explained: “We have been leading tours at Hamilton Marsh for the past two years, as part of the annual Brant Festival, but this year we were told by Island Timberlands that we are not welcome on their land.” Murdock went on to explain that on Tuesday April 7 she received a phone call from Makenzie Leine, spokeswoman for Island Timberlands, who told her that she would not be allowed to give the annual Brant Festival tour at Hamilton Marsh.

Leine also objected to Gary Murdock, who worked as a BC Forest Service Officer for 35 years, based on the fact that he appeared in a short video about Bear Den Island. According to Leine this video proved that Murdock trespassed on the tiny island in the middle of Englishman River where he explained the age of a tree that had been cut down by fallers working for Island Timberlands.

According to the current laws and regulations established by the BC government and Island Timberlands, a hunter with a gun, can hike to Bear Den Island, locate the den, track the animal, and shoot a Black Bear. All this based on the very public knowledge that a bear has a den on this tiny island in the middle of Englishman River as reported in the PQNews along with a photo. However, an eco-tour operator is banned from entering any property owned by Island Timberlands because he has told the public about logging in the middle of a river.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Looking at things from a new perspective changes the world.

As individuals we can effect a great deal of change on the world around us but the number one way we can effect change for the environment is by voting. This is due to the fact that every level of government sets the laws and regulations that all individuals and corporations are expected to follow.

Greenwash is all the rage but sooner than later we have to really change the human impact upon the environment because the planet is showing many signs of weakening under direct pressure from our species. The public has been demanding environmental protection for years. Based on what people are doing on a personal level in terms of recycling, etc… they want to make a difference but are left with only 2 choices when it comes to voting.

Thankfully, there is an alternative, which has been chosen by 150 citizens selected randomly from across British Columbia. The Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, after an extensive process, selected the Single Transferable Vote (STV) as the system that best suites BC’s population and political make up. Ireland has being using the STV electoral system successfully for 50 years.

You may remember that in the last referendum on May 17, 2005, BC came very close, with in fact 57.7% of voters endorsing STV. With such a fine margin the government had to agree to a second referendum after establishing a set of standards voted for by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. In order for the STV system to replace the ‘first past the post system’ voters use today, 60% of BC voters will have to vote ‘yes’ on the referendum ballot during the upcoming provincial election on May 12, 2009.

STV may seem complicated but is actually based on grade 6 math and is designed to make your vote count. Rather than being limited to one vote, you would be expected to list your preferences by writing the number one for your first choice of candidates; with number two for 2nd and so forth until you reach the candidates, which you don’t want to elect, where you would leave the box blank. This eliminates the need for strategic voting and allows you to vote with your conscience.

If adopted, the STV system would first be used in the BC elections of 2013 when voters would elect the same number of MLAs, that has been increased from 79 to 85, for this upcoming election. The entire province would be divided into a number of districts each of which would have between 2-7 MLAs. The Mid-Vancouver Island district would have 4 MLAs, which is equal to the number representing the same area today. You would be voting on a ballot with candidates from all parties, including independents.

Scrutinizers will still guarantee all the ballots and will oversee the imputing of data into computers, which will then do the math. Paper ballots will be kept in case a recount is necessary and as evidence of a fair count.

The reason we need a change is simple, during the 2001 election the BC Liberal party won 97% of the seats with only 58% of the popular vote and in 2005 they ruled with a majority of 56% of the seats in the Legislature but they only received 46% of the popular vote. That power shift allowed Gordon Campbell to cancel the fall session of the legislature in both 2006 and 2008 to avoid questions from the opposition. The very corner stone of parliamentary democracy is the opportunity for the public’s will to be heard by the government.

In 2005 the Green Party of BC received 9% of the popular vote but not a single MLA represents them in the Legislature. Under the STV system the BC Green Party would likely have had 3 MLA’s representing their voters’ base. Trends in other countries that use STV or a similar system, indicate that a broader spectrum of voters are represented in government and politicians are forced to come to agreements and compromises that reflects the will of citizens.

It is interesting to note that political parties, such as the BC Liberals and the BC NDP, currently use a similar STV process to elect their candidates and leaders because they know that the system the public uses today is not fair.

For more information checkout: