Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


Interfor halts pristine valley work

March 15, 2001

Forest company pledges not to log along coast for one year while issues are sorted out.

International Forest products surprised loggers and environmentalists Wednesday, saying it will not log pristine valleys on B.C.‘s central coast for a year while land-use issues are sorted out.

“Interfor is determined to work constructively with all parties toward finding balanced, long-term solutions,” president Duncan Davies said in announcing the moratorium.

The company is calling on environmental groups to end their anti-logging campaign aimed at Interfor customers. The company will continue logging areas already affected by development.

Interfor this year had been planning on developing roads and logging plans for a number of the 25 pristine valleys on the central and northern coasts that have had no logging activity before.

Despite the moratorium, hinted at two weeks ago by Davies, environmental organizations said Wednesday they were not ready to call off their campaign, but they said they were encouraged and wanted to talk to Interfor.

Sierra Club representative Merran Smith said her organization coincidentally launched a postcard campaign Wednesday calling for more protection for the central coast.

She said Interfor should not have made the announcement without first consulting with groups such as hers.

“This is a bizarre and slightly premature activity by Interfor,” she said.

Rick Jeffery, president of the B.C. Truck Loggers Association, said the moratorium will affect the livelihood of 150 to 200 loggers. He said Interfor has given in to pressure by groups such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.

“This is significant and for them to announce this unilaterally is a concern for us. It doesn’t take into account other people’s interests.”

Greenpeace campaigner Tamara Stark said her organization will make a decision on its campaign when it receives more details.

She said broader issues, including logging in Clayoquot Sound and the Elaho Valley, still need to be addressed before Greenpeace would end its anti-logging campaign against Interfor.

Stark said there is reluctance to accept Interfor at its word because the company pulled out of talks involving companies and environmental groups a year ago.

“If you are going to get your hopes up again, you want to make sure it is real. So until we can sort out the last details, the campaign will continue.”

Davies said the company has restarted discussions with those companies and groups. The talks are taking place in the context of the Central Coast Land and Resource Management Plan, which the provincial government wants completed by the end of the month.