April 30, 2013 10:34 pm
Updated: April 30, 2013 10:38 pm

New “war in the woods” shaping up between forestry company and eco-tourism operators

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Another war in the woods is shaping up between a major forest company in B.C. and more than a hundred eco-tourism companies.

The front line is a series of islands that lie between northern Vancouver Island and the Mainland.

It’s an area that’s extremely important to tourism, from kayak excursions to passing cruise ships.

Tourism operators say clear-cut logging is scarring the landscape and poses a serious risk to their business.

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Between the wildlife and scenery, the Discovery Islands are a top destination for travelers looking for an eco-tourism experience.

However, operators are concerned plans to start logging the area could put the $45 million industry at risk and operators stand to lose it all.

We’re completely disregarded when it comes to forest management decisions and that needs to change. There’s something wrong here,” says Ralph Keller of Discovery Islands Lodge.

In the past decade, legislation outlining how B.C.’s forests are managed has shifted the control from government to the companies doing the work.

Once logged, there’s a chance the view will be compromised, and so will business.

Spirit of the West Adventures makes twenty-eight kayaking trips per year generating more than $400,000. Negotiations to protect area are going nowhere.

However, Timberwest says they are giving special consideration to ensure logged blocks of land do not dominate the view from the water.

The hope is to find a way for both industries to thrive together.

And while the tourism sector now has a strong economic argument on its side, it’s up to government to make a shift in policy that reflects its value.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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