Forest ministry to look at securing salvage loggers’ cut

B.C.’s forestry minister will soon decide whether to create a license for small-scale salvage logging in the Morice timber area.

B.C.’s forestry minister will soon decide whether to create a license for small-scale salvage logging in the Morice timber area.

In a letter to District of Houston councillors, who asked the province to consider such a license in May, Minister Steve Thomson said he expects to finish a review of Morice timber licenses by September. While the Morice timber supply is “very tight,” he said he would keep salvaging a priority.

Forester Dave Mayer speaks for the Morice Forest Salvage Society, a group of 12 Houston loggers who salvage small areas of beetle-killed pine trees and hire one or two extra staff at most.

Mayer says that just like a big forestry company, small-scale loggers need to be sure they’ll have more timber to cut in the future before they can invest in their businesses.

“It’s exactly the same scenario, only it’s even more difficult for the smaller guy because they can’t capture the economy of scale that a large operator can,” he said.

For two years, the MFSS has been asking the Nadina forest service to create a forest license of between 50,000 and 100,000 cubic metres of timber they can bid on.

“There’s still a lot of area out there that hasn’t been salvaged,” Mayer said, noting that was the finding of an Aug. 15 report by B.C.’s special timber supply committee.

“The real plus for the small-scale guys is they can go in and they can log ares of two or three hectares. The big operators can’t be bothered with something like that.”

Minister Thomson suggested that besides a license, Houston’s small-scale loggers might secure timber through Dungate Community Forest.

But Mayer disagrees.

Logging for Dungate is managed by larger operators, he said, and while some have hired MFSS members in the past, he said those contracts are still on a year to year basis.

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