Within the Powell River region there is privately owned forest land. As with any privately owned land, Malaspina Land Conservancy Society opens its doors to negotiation with owners over the purchase or preservation of land, however, the society can only step forward into negotiation if the owners are willing to discuss sale or conservation.
If the land falls within the mandate of MLCS (it is of scenic beauty, scientific, cultural, recreational or historic interest to the community) and is of a size and quality that MLCS can justify fundraising for or managing under conservation covenant, the society will be interested in preservation in perpetuity of the land for the good of the community.
MLCS is a registered charity. In order to keep its charitable status it cannot engage in activism or lobbying. Instead, it can engage in fundraising and education.
Currently, there are many calls for MLCS to get involved with the Lot 450 parcels of land. One parcel, a privately managed forest land, owned by Island Timberlands, was targeted for logging in the spring. On Earth Day, April 22, chainsaws were revved and the community, especially in Cranberry, began living with the daily crashes of trees. The situation engaged local citizens and through actions and the very successful declaration that such logging was against the Wildlife Act due to nesting season, the logging was halted. Over the summer, the fire risk has remained extreme and currently logging cannot take place due to fire hazard. But, as the days tick by and a chill develops in the air, the air is getting more moist and by early fall those fire restrictions may be lifted. What will stand in the way of further logging?
For MLCS to be involved in this particular privately owned parcel, there needs to be a willing owner wishing to negotiate a sale price. Using that as a launching step, the community can look at a target fundraising amount and MLCS could be involved with assisting with the fundraising.
Another portion of Lot 450 is forest land owned by PRSC (City of Powell River and Tla’amin First Nation) upon which Island Timberlands has a one-time right to the trees. Here there are two entities with an interest in the land – PRSC and Island Timberlands. If Island Timberlands were to show interest in negotiating a sale price for the value of the trees left standing on the lot, and if this were to be in keeping with the wishes of the landowners PRSC, then MLCS would be happy to be involved with the negotiations and creating a fundraising campaign. Until that situation happens, MLCS cannot take an active part in fundraising.
However, MLCS can help with education. In both of these situations, the society could assist with engaging the community, drawing in interest on the educational, aesthetic, health-giving and biodiverse value of the land, and thereby helping to capture the heart of the community. Doing so would be a positive move toward future fundraising as it is essential people feel some connection to the land for them to open their pocket books and donate to a cause.
MLCS is keeping a close eye on the Lot 450 situation because other forest lands within the Powell River region are also key to the community. Stillwater Bluffs has long been a focus for MLCS. At least four years ago, MLCS offered to be involved with negotiations for the purchase of the Bluffs. The Powell River Regional District took on the lead negotiation position and engaged Island Timberlands, the owner of the land. The response from Island Timberlands was to connect the regional district with its real estate arm. Negotiations seem to have gone quiet and MLCS has not been invited into any action to assist. However, here again, education could happen. MLCS is interested in hosting a bioblitz on the land. This is an in-depth, limited time exploration of the biodiversity of the land. It involves all sorts of community groups and knowledge, from biologists to girl guides, hikers to artists, in a 12-hour or 24-hour marathon of data capture.
But, the society cannot do this alone. It is interested in engaging with other community groups to host a bioblitz. Interested? Please send us a note.
And, what about Valentine Mountain? As another beautiful scenic parcel of land with a key emotional attachment to the community, it could be protected and preserved…
If we are not doing this for our children, who would we do this for?