Thursday, May 11, 2006

Buying Power = Better Boating

Hello all.

Hopefully many of you are checking in on this site because you liked what you saw on the latest issue of LVM. If you have no idea what I am talking about, click here and get yourself a copy of this fine video publication.
Well, I am writing to tell you a little more about the two creeks featured in the aforementioned video.

Roger's creek and South creek have something in common besides both being tributaries of the Lilloeet River in British Columbia. As a kayaker you access each creek by walking down the edge of a clear cut. (For Beta: the downstream side of the first clear cut on Rogers, and the upstream side of one about 3km up the road for South). But I am writing to inform ya'll that clear cuts are bad for kayaking, bad for the spotted owl, and can be discouraged by a simple act.

To keep things breif, clear cuts are not a good thing for kayaking. Trees help anchor the topsoil and keep things put. When all the trees are cut down in an area, erosion is more likely to occur, which can lead to more trees and debris falling down. Because rivers are usually at the bottom of "down", all that stuff ends up in the river. The clear cutting on South Creek was recent and resulted in many rapids being choked full of wood. For those keeping track, clear cuts = more portaging.

The old log jam at the entrance to Rica Canyon on the Elwha . . . a mandatory portage!

photo by Andrew Oberhardt

Spotted owls live in trees. They use old growth forests to effectively hunt. Other animals live there too. Cutting all the trees down makes them homeless and allows for more invasive plants to start growing. Devils club is an invasive plant that is not fun to portage through.

Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit organization that certifies wood that has not been clear cut, among other things. They are a swell organization that makes sure many other good procedures are used to provide lumber to the world. If you buy lumber, work for someone who buys lumber, contract with someone who buys wood, etc, please look for FSC certified wood and if its not available, request that your local lumber yard carries FSC products.

In summary:
Clear Cuts = Less Habitat = More Erosion = More Portaging through Devil's Club = Bad
Buying FSC certified lumber ensures that the wood was selectively cut = Good.


Classic NW slalom gate on classic NW creek (Clear Fork) with classic NW characters (Bill Bowey and Bryan Urakawa).

photo by shane robinson

Sometimes logs are good, but only when they are 40 feet above the river...Bryan scouts Nightmare on the Elwha.

photo by Andrew Oberhardt

Urakawa doing what it takes to make it Right.

photo by shane robinson

Just another rapid in the pacific northwest.

photo by Tg

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