Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: September 18, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

BC unveils aid package for workers, US housing-starts rebound

The Tree Frog Forestry News
September 18, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

The BC government unveiled an aid package for workers affected by mill closures—with support from industry and the unions; questions from the opposition and workers; and critiques from prominent columnists. In related news: BC politicians are urged to set aide their differences; and the BC coast labour talks break down.

Meanwhile: US housing starts surge; mortgage demand jumps; and lumber prices recover slightly. And in other news: set-backs for Northern Pulp and Fort Frances mill rescue-aspirations; Delta Air Lines looks to forest debris; Ontario urged to review mid-rise wood structures; and FPAC launches Forestry for the Future campaign.

Finally; Ken Follett—of Pillars of the Earth fame—on the burning of Notre-Dame.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

A Hymn to Notre-Dame

By Ken Follett, Author
The Smithsonian Magazine
September 18, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

On September 1, 1830, the 28-year-old poet Victor Hugo sat down to write Chapter 1 of a book called Notre-Dame de Paris. …It got poor reviews but the public loved it, and it was quickly translated into other languages. The English edition was called The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. And Hugo became world famous. …Nearly 200 years later, on April 15, 2019… Notre-Dame was on fire. I understood what was burning and how the fire was gathering force. …I had, in doing research for The Pillars of the Earth, my novel about the building of a fictional medieval cathedral. A key scene in Chapter 4 describes the old cathedral of Kingsbridge burning down, and I had asked myself: Exactly how does a great stone church catch fire? …Excerpt from Notre-Dame by Ken Follett, to be published on October 29, 2019.

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Business & Politics

Forest Products Association of Canada Launches Forestry for the Future Campaign

Forest Products Association of Canada
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) launched  its Forestry for the Future campaign as it works to put issues facing Canada’s forestry workers and communities front and centre for federal election candidates across the country. “The future of our sector in Canada is facing unprecedented challenges – worsening fire seasons, more damaging pest infestations, market volatility, and trade disputes.  These are coming together in way that is putting thousands of Canadian jobs at risk and impacting our ability to use forest management as a tool to help fight climate change and make environmentally-friendly products for Canada and the world,” said FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor. The Forestry for the Future campaign is anchored by the www.forestryforthefuture.ca website, which captures details on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector and how prospective MPs can help.  

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Government outlines new forest worker support programs

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The provincial government has announced $69 million to fund a new series of measures aimed at supporting British Columbia forest workers impacted by mill closures and shift reductions in several B.C. Interior communities. The Interior forest industry has been reducing production in an effort to adjust to the end of the mountain pine beetle harvest and the devastating 2017 and 2018 fire seasons. “The previous government knew that the end of mountain pine beetle harvest would disrupt the lives of forest workers, contractors and communities, but they did little to prepare for this inevitable transition,” said Premier John Horgan. “While the forest sector must reduce surplus milling capacity to remain competitive, it cannot do so at the expense of the workers, contractors and communities who built the industry. Our government will ensure that forest workers impacted by mill closures are supported.” …Doug Donaldson called on the forest industry to increase supports for impacted workers…

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$69m announcement doesn’t fully satisfy NDP friends in forestry industry

By Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vaughn Palmer

VICTORIA — When Forests Minister Doug Donaldson announced $69-million worth of support for displaced forest workers, he made it sound as if the New Democrats had been on top of things all along. …though the NDP had taken its time putting together the package. Closer to the mark was Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall [who] acknowledged how news of reduced operations and mill closures had been plaguing the forest sector for months. …Why did it take the NDP so long to come to the rescue of all those workers? asked one reporter. Donaldson said he’d expected that question. If so, he might have worked out a better rationalization for the delay. …But I expect even a partial launch of the rescue package would have been welcomed by forest workers …While many of the year’s announcements affected forest operations in B.C. Liberal ridings, the Teal Jones news hit six New Democrats where they live.

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B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government has announced a $69 million fund for Interior forest workers and their communities to assist with forest industry closures and curtailments that have swept the province. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said $40 million over two years goes to early retirement funds. Another $15 million funds short-term work programs, focused on wildfire prevention and “community resiliency projects.” Municipalities subject to permanent mill closures are eligible for an immediate $100,000, and those with indefinite closures can get $75,000 for community programs. …Donaldson said the province has been asking the federal government for assistance, but B.C. Liberal forest critic John Rustad said nothing is likely to happen until after the federal election… The B.C. Council of Forest Industries has its own suggestions to help the industry’s transition to a decline in allowable timber harvest that is expected to continue until 2030. …B.C. is also changing its log export and harvest regulations to reduce wood waste. 

From The Globe and Mail (Brent Jang): B.C. earmarks $69-million to help forestry industry deal with job cuts

From Global News: B.C. government rolling out plan to support workers affected by mill closures

From CBC News: $69M in aid coming to beleaguered forestry workers in B.C.’s Interior

From CKPG Today: Province announces help for those in forestry industry

From My Bulkley Lakes Now: Province announces $69 million for impacted forestry sector

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B.C. government unveils $69-million aid package for workers in beleaguered forest industry

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Since May, BC’s Interior forest industry has been hit with a cascading series of sawmill production curtailments and permanent closures that have left some 3,000 workers at least temporarily out of work. Forest Minister Doug Donaldson held out a $69-million, short-term lifeline to many of those workers in the form of early-retirement assistance, job-placement services, retraining programs, and make-work projects for logging contractors. …The measures, however, are only part of “a continuum,” Donaldson said, in dealing with a long-predicted rationalization of the industry. The minister acknowledged there will be more work to do, a point emphasized by unions. And B.C. Liberals criticized the government for taking so long and ignoring other measures at its disposal. …Industry representative Susan Yurkovich said the aid package has been “a collaborative effort,” and companies are pleased to see elements of cost-sharing with them on things such as early-retirement programs.

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B.C.’s forestry industry is in turmoil. Now the province is offering millions so some workers can retire early

By Jesse Winter
The Toronto Star
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

After a brutal summer of sawmill closures, indefinite shutdowns and shift reductions, the BC government has announced $69 million in funding it says will help forestry workers in the province’s hard-hit Interior. Key among the government’s promises is a $40-million fund to establish a “cost-shared, early-retirement bridging program” for workers 55 or older who have been affected by permanent mill closures or indefinite shutdowns. …[Forest Minister] Donaldson also threw down the gauntlet… “The federal government needs to step up and support these initiatives as well.” …The BC funding also includes $15 million for establishing a short-term forest-employment program focused on wildfire prevention and community resiliency… available not just for laid-off sawmill workers, but logging contractors and others indirectly affected by the forestry slowdown. Another $12 million will go toward new-skills training for workers, and toward grants for employers and communities to support training programs.

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BC Council of Forest Industries President and CEO happy to see industry get helping hand

By Brendan Pawliw
My Prince George Now
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Susan Yurkovich

The President and CEO of the BC Council of Forest Industries is pleased with the government’s 69-million dollar investment to support forestry workers who have been impacted by curtailments and shutdowns. Susan Yurkovich admits the industry is in a significant transition phase and that the province and industry need to work together to get it back on track. “I think that it’s important the industry and government are working to do everything we can to possibly support workers and communities as we move through this difficult period.” Forty million of those funds will help establish a cost-shared, early retirement bridging program. Yurkovich is satisfied to see a program of this kind in place since most of the current workforce is a decade or less away from retiring.

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United Steelworkers Responds to B.C. Government Forest Worker Announcement

By United Steelworkers
Cision Newswire
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BURNABY, BC – The United Steelworkers (USW) is responding to the British Columbia government’s announcement for forest workers impacted by mill closures and curtailments in the B.C. Interior. “Any move to provide assistance to workers who are bearing the brunt of the crisis in the forest industry is welcomed, but permanent solutions for workers, families and communities throughout the entire province are needed,” says Stephen Hunt, USW Director for Western Canada. “A jobs protection commissioner would also go a long way to assisting mills, workers and communities facing closures all around the province,” Hunt says. “From the Coast to the Interior, every community in British Columbia is being impacted by mill closures and job losses and unless there are significant changes to forest policy the crisis will continue,” says Jeff Bromley, USW Wood Council Chair.

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NDP continues to ignore Lower Mainland forestry workers in ongoing crisis: B.C. Liberals

By Rattan Mall
The Indo-Canadian Voice
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Stephanie Cadieux

In the face of ongoing mill closures and reduced shifts, Surrey’s BC Liberal MLAs are expressing their disappointment at Tuesday’s NDP forestry announcement, saying Premier John Horgan and his government are completely ignoring the Lower Mainland forestry workers affected by this crisis. …Stephanie Cadieux, MLA for Surrey South… “The NDP is finally starting to acknowledge that there is a crisis in B.C.’s Interior. But what about the 500 mill jobs at risk in Surrey, or the 150 jobs lost in Maple Ridge?  …“Today’s announcement confirms what we already knew: John Horgan has made up his mind that there are too many mills in B.C., and he is going to focus on getting people out of the industry rather than helping them succeed,” said Tracy Redies, MLA for Surrey-White Rock.

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Talks break down between Steelworkers, Western Forest Products

By Robert Barron
The Cowichan Valley Citizen
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Talks to end the strike at Western Forest Products on Sept. 13 ended abruptly with no deal, and both sides blaming each other for the impasse. A bargaining unit from the United Steelworkers… said it tabled a revised set of proposals for the forest company to consider, including a revised wage proposal. …Brian Butler said that after hours of negotiations, the company’s position remained unchanged. …“WFP is not bargaining and is using an American style, bargaining-by-litigation strategy which messages that they are interested in bargaining to the media, but are actually bent on inflicting damage to the union and its members,” Butler said. …Don Demens, president and CEO of WFP, said …“We are disappointed that talks have broken off and firmly believe that resuming discussions with the assistance of an independent mediator is the best way for both parties to resolve our differences”.

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‘There’s a lot of fear’: Interior forestry workers reeling from job losses will get aid, says province

By Bhinder Sajan
CTV News
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC government has announced $69 million in relief for forestry workers in the Interior affected by job losses or shift reductions, as critics call the situation a “crisis.” …Marty Gibbons is with United Steelworkers Local 1-417… spoke to many workers who are now out of a job. “They’re mad as hell, generally, there’s a lot of fear.” Gibbons said… what many people now feel is akin to the grieving process. …The government charges a “stumpage fee” to companies that want to log Crown land. Some critics have suggested the way that is calculated needs to change. [Forest Minister] Donaldson said that would be difficult given court cases the province is involved in. …Gibbons – who disagrees on this point with many of the United Steelworker union bosses – said given the length of the softwood lumber dispute with the U.S., maybe it was time to re-think that position.

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Cooperative approach urged to resolve B.C.’s forest crisis

Penticton Western News
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is calling for B.C.’s elected officials to set aside their differences and collectively find solutions that support the forest sector and communities. The Chamber has written to Premier John Horgan, official opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. “Mill operations are either being shut down or curtailed, impacting thousands of workers and their families as well as those associated with private contractors and suppliers. Given the uncertainty, these individuals are less likely to make major purchases such as vehicles or homes, or to visit their favourite restaurant as often. That directly affects small businesses that are the very lifeblood of communities like Vernon,” said Krystin Kempton, Chamber president, in the letter. …”Now is the time for a broad-based approach to resolving the current crisis and establishing a sustainable forest sector for years to come,” said Kempton.

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First Nation says restarting Fort Frances mill could damage other operators

By Gary Rinne
The Thunder Bay News Watch
September 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FORT FRANCES, Ontario — A crack has developed in the efforts of the Town of Fort Frances to present a united front as it tries to save the former Resolute paper mill. A letter from Rainy River First Nations to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry suggests restarting the mill would jeopardize the wood supply needed by numerous other operators. This echoes an argument previously made by Resolute, which has warned about a harmful  “domino effect” on its other mills and on other companies if any fibre is diverted from the Crossroute Forest. …Fort Frances Mayor June Caul said she was surprised to hear about his letter. “I was very taken aback and disappointed. When we had our public meeting, way back in February, he actually stood up and supported the mill starting up again,” Caul told Tbnewswatch in an interview.

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About 100 layoffs underway at Kenora, Ont., sawmill, Unifor says

CBC News
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A spokesperson for the union representing workers at the sawmill in Kenora, Ont., says he hopes employees who are part of an ongoing staggered layoff will not be off the job for too long. Unifor national representative Steven Boon said about 100 employees of Kenora Forest Products’ operations …are in the process of being laid off. Boon said that’s due to a number of factors, including a drop in lumber prices within the past six months. …”Layoffs have already started but they’ll be staggered over the next two to three weeks as the sawmill consumes the rest of the logs in the yard,” he said. “The next two-to-three weeks, the mill should be down production-wise and then, right now, the plan is to have some people in shipping and a number of trades to continue at the plant and work on maintenance issues.”

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Court upholds ruling requiring consultation with Nova Scotia First Nation on pulp mill

By Keith Doucette
The Canadian News in CTV News
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s Appeal Court has upheld a lower court ruling that says the province must consult with a Mi’kmaq community about how public money is provided to the Northern Pulp mill’s effluent treatment plant. In a unanimous ruling issued Tuesday by a three-judge panel, Justice Joel E. Fichaud writes that the province’s funding agreements with the mill constitute government conduct with “a potential for adverse impact” on the Pictou Landing First Nation. Fichaud said that’s because the agreements and the funding they provide increase the likelihood the mill will discharge contaminants after the legislated Jan. 31 closure date of the current effluent treatment plant at Boat Harbour, N.S. He said the potential impacts are “more than inconsequential” and require the government to consult with the Mi’kmaq. …A spokeswoman… said the government is reviewing the Appeal Court decision.

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U.S. plywood coalition claims fraudulent certification of Brazilian panels

By Karen Koenig
The Woodworking Network
September 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

LYONS, Oregon – The U.S. Structural Plywood Integrity Coalition, a group comprised of 10 domestic plywood producers, has filed a Lanham Act claim of false labeling against three U.S. certification agencies: PFS TECO, Timber Products Inspection Inc. and International Accreditation Service. The coalition claims certain structural plywood panels produced in South America are being fraudulently certified and stamped as compliant with U.S. product standards. …Although the southern Brazil plantations were planted in loblolly pine, slash pine, and other North American species typically used in domestic panel manufacturing, “when these species are planted in regions they have never naturally grown, the tree’s fiber no longer behaves like those grown in their natural regions. …”The product standards for American plywood have serious real-world implications for all homes constructed using wood panel products,” said Tyler Freres, with Freres Lumber. 

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Finance & Economics

U.S. housing starts race to 12-year high in August

Reuters in The Financial Post
September 18, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON — U.S. homebuilding surged to more than a 12-year high in August as both single- and multi-family housing construction increased, suggesting that lower mortgage rates were finally providing a boost to the struggling housing market. Housing starts jumped 12.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.364 million units last month, the highest level since June 2007, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. …The housing market, the most sensitive sector to interest rates, had until now shown few signs of benefiting from the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy easing, which has pushed down mortgage rates from last year’s multi-year highs.

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Mortgage demand from buyers jumps, just as interest rates spike

By Diana Olick
CNBC Markets
September 18, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Mortgage application volume was flat last, down a slight 0.1%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Volume was still 67% higher than a year ago, when rates were much higher. Mortgage applications to purchase a home increased 6% for the week and were a strong 15% higher annually.

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Lumber prices recover slightly as autumn arrives

By Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
September 17, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

After terrifying drops this summer, lumber prices are slightly up from last week. This week’s benchmark lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr price was U.S. $376. After a big jump over one-month-ago last week, this week’s price is up another +$6, or +2%, from one month ago. Compared to one year ago, this price is down -$100, or -21%.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

City urged to act on wooden structures

By Dave Flaherty
The Oshawa Express
September 17, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

A huge fire that caused $6 million in damage and displaced numerous residents clearly remains in the mind of the community. On June 9, the fire broke out at a four-storey wood structure that was under construction at 143 Bloor Street West. …Durham police continue to investigate the blaze but have yet to charge anyone. Shortly after, city council approved a motion petitioning the province to review its guidelines for fire safety during construction of five and six-storey wood structures. Oshawa also requests Ontario make these rules mandatory for all wood buildings with more than four storeys. The Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) supported this resolution, and joined in the call to the province. …The city has yet to received formal response from the provincial government.

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Forestry

2019 Report Shows Community Forests are Important for Rural BC

BC Community Forest Association
September 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Victoria and the Territories of Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lekwungen (Songhees) First Nations: The BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA) is pleased to share the 2019 Community Forest Indicators Report. The Indicators Report, now in its 5th year, contains analysis of 18 different areas where community forests deliver economic, social, cultural, and environmental benefits to their rural and Indigenous communities and to the province. Along with the quantitative information, the report is filled with stories and photos that further demonstrate the importance of community forests to the sustainable future of these communities and the land that surrounds them. “With mill curtailments and closures occurring across the province, BC has turned its attention to policy reform and transition planning to support resilient forestry communities, reconfigure relationships with Indigenous communities, and take on the challenges of climate change and the risk of wildfire. 

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Building resilience to wildfire in Kimberley’s municipal watersheds

BC Local News
September 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In a presentation to Kimberley City Council, Consultant Robert Gray explained that Kimberley is part of large research project that aims to increase resilience to wildfire, specifically in Kimberley’s Watersheds. …He said that research on the past and future of fire risk in south eastern B.C. is being conducted by him and a team in the Okanagan along with the Ministry of Forests, the Regional Districts and the Ktunaxa Nation. …He adds that they are working with the City to determine the risks, thin out material and “get stuff moving” in the Mark Creek and Matthew Creek watersheds. Part of that is applying to a new grant through the Columbia Basin Trust called the Wildfire Innovation Grant. …Gray says that wildfire risk stems from climate change and rising temperatures. …He adds that in Canada, the spring fire season is expected to grow more than the fall season.

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Timber rights on City of Powell River-owned property might belong to logging company

By Paul Galinski
The Powell River Peak
September 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

POWELL RIVER, BC — Timber rights on a piece of City of Powell River-owned property known as Lot A may still be owned by Island Timberlands. … A letter from resident George Orchiston… making a case for the city to represent the interests of its residents and publicly declare its ownership of timber on Lot A. …The city purchased the 132-acre property in 2017 for the sum of $800,000. …Island Timberlands held an open house in 2015 and presented draft harvest plans to the public. They did draft plans but stepped back, added Brewer. …“Right now, it doesn’t look like the alleged owner of the trees has a plan to harvest them and if they do, that is the time for the city to get involved and work on an agreed harvest plan,” said Doubt. 

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The conflicting ideas of economy and ecology examined in Ellingsen’s work

By Mike Davis
BC Local News
September 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Cortes Island photographer David Ellingsen has a fair bit of internal conflict as a proud, self-described environmentalist whose family history is in logging old growth trees. In fact, Ellingsen’s family name is attached to one of the historic leaps forward in west coast logging, the Ellingsen jack, which largely replaced the Gilchrist jack as the go-to tool for taking huge felled logs out of the soggy coastal woods more efficiently. “But while my father was taking down and milling trees, he was also working towards getting a sustainable, eco-forestry program going on Cortes Island, putting the local community in charge of the rate of harvest on any public lands on the island,” Ellingsen says. …One of his current exhibitions, entitled The Last Stand, is on display at the Museum at Campbell River right now. It’s a collection of works depicting, in some ways, his family history. 

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You Can Visit An Enchanted Forest In BC This Fall & It’s Straight Out Of A Fairy Tale

By Stephanie Hilash
Narcity
September 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. is one of the best places to explore fall as the entire province has tons of little hidden gems. One of the most magical spots in B.C. is the Enchanted Forest. This off the grid location looks like something out of a fairy tale and going to see it in the fall makes it even more surreal.The Enchanted Forest in Revelstoke is possibly the cutest tourist attraction ever. …Open until mid-October, you can romp around the paved path looking at some of the most magical sculptures and treehouses. It will honestly feel like you fell straight into a fairy tale. …If the sculptures and architecture weren’t enough, the trees that surround the forest are pure magic. These skyscraper-like trees create a large canopy of green over your head as you walk. You may even find yourself looking up quite a bit marvelling at the sheer height of them. 

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Pacific Western Brewing planting more than 70,000 seedlings between Prince George and Quesnel

Quesnel Cariboo Observer
September 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George’s Pacific Western Brewing (PWB) continues to contribute to reforestation efforts in our region. PWB’s “Cariboo Cares” reforestation program continued this summer with the planting of more than 70,000 spruce and lodgepole pine seedlings about 50 kilometres northwest of Quesnel. …The planting area is between Quesnel and Prince George. “This year’s planting comes at a critical time for the forestry-dependent Interior,” said brewery general manager Scott Rattee. “The downturn in the forest sector has taken a heavy toll, with several hundred direct and indirect jobs lost in Prince George and neighbouring Interior communities.” Last year, PWB and its customers funded the planting of thousands of seedlings at the site of the devastating Elephant Hill fire east of 70 Mile House.

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World’s largest privately owned giant sequoia forest sold for $15 million

By Paul Rogers
The Mercury News
September 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A Bay Area conservation group has signed a deal to purchase the world’s largest privately owned giant sequoia forest, a primeval landscape in California’s Southern Sierra Nevada with massive trees that soar 250 feet tall, span up to 80 feet around at their trunks and live for more than 2,000 years. The 530-acre property, known as the Alder Creek, is roughly the same size as Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County. Located in Tulare County 10 miles south of Sequoia National Park, it is home to 483 massive trees that are larger than six feet in diameter — four more trees than the famed Mariposa Grove at Yosemite National Park. “This is probably the most-coveted sequoia conservation opportunity in a generation,” said Sam Hodder, president of Save the Redwoods League, a non-profit group based in San Francisco that has agreed to pay $15.6 million to purchase the property.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Delta looks to power planes using forest debris

By Steve Creedy
Airline Ratings
September 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Delta Air Lines is looking into establishing a biofuels plant in Washington state that would use debris on forest floors to produce fuel for its US West Coast operations. The US carrier is investing $US2 million to partner with Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels to look at the production of sustainable aviation fuel for its operations in operations Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sustainable aviation fuels are still seen as a major weapon in global moves by the aviation industry to significantly cut emissions but there have been difficulties attracting government support. Delta expects the feasibility study to be completed by the middle of 2020 at which point the carrier will evaluate its next move. If it proceeds, the first fuel potentially delivered by the end of 2023.

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Tree-planting to offset carbon emissions: no cure-all

Associated Free Press in France 24
September 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…as more polluting industries join efforts to offset their carbon emissions, the effectiveness of the approach is open to debate, with some critics suggesting that tree-planting schemes are nothing more than a fig leaf. Once marginal, the offset movement has even reached the arch-enemy of environmentalists: big oil. Shell has ploughed $300 million (270 million euros) into forest plantations to reduce its carbon footprint by 2-3 percent, Italy’s ENI has set an objective of zero net emissions via its forestry investments, and France’s Total plans to set up a special “business unit” next year to spend $100 million annually on compensation efforts. …While trees are an important tool for regulating the climate, reforestation alone cannot whitewash a company’s carbon-emitting activity, say activists. …Large-scale reforestation also poses other problems: the planted trees may compete with local cultures and forests and may not necessarily be beneficial to the local environment.

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Health & Safety

Forest safety ombudsman warned province about Bamfield road in 2008 report

CBC News
September 17, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Geerdes and Emma MachadoB.C.’s forest safety ombudsman warned the provincial government 11 years ago about the dangers of the road to Bamfield, where a bus crash on Friday claimed the lives of two University of Victoria students. The route between Port Alberni, B.C., and the community on Vancouver Island’s west coast was highlighted in a 2008 report by Roger Harris on the status of the province’s 400,000 kilometres of gravel logging roads. It quoted a community member from a 2007 town hall, who said: “It scares me, the thought of those school and tour buses on the road each day.” Harris, who still holds the position today, warned the provincial government in his report that numerous communities in B.C., including Bamfield, are only accessible by old logging roads that are not adequately maintained. [An audio link to the complete interview with Roger Harris on The Early Edition is available in the story.]

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