May 20th, 2018

These are the real culprits in land destruction


By Letter to the Editor on May 10, 2018.

For 50 years I have lived in and been an enthusiastic user of our amazing backcountry here in Western Canada. I believe as a born-and-raised Albertan we all should be able to enjoy the land we are so privileged to live in.

What really bothers me is the petty posturing that both environmental groups and the OHV community take with respect to the use and abuse of what we are privileged to enjoy. One group posts “scientific studies” and photos of a rutted logging road full of puddles on social media and then goes on to blame the other about the destruction of our backcountry and headwaters, while the other side gets angry and responds with a flurry of misspelled posts of vitriol and name calling.

Are you kidding me? How about we all step back and take a look at facts that are available to everybody! I would like everyone who reads this to download Google Earth, scroll to about 55,000 feet above the Earth and take a good, hard look at the sheer destruction of our land by seismic, oil and gas, and logging.

The environmentalists say that OHV use is rampant and damaging our headwaters, yet they are silent with respect to the millions of acres wiped out by clear-cutting. Entire mountain drainage systems are wiped clean of trees and scarified by makeshift roads hacked into the sides of the mountains. Don’t believe me? Go look for yourself. This is clearly visible from outer space! Eleven miles above the surface of the Earth, Whitecourt and Hinton look like a circuit board. Sixty thousand wells all with cleared roads for access and 100-metre-by-100-metre cleared sites. Millions of acres.

What I am writing here is not a scientific study paid for by some third party to obtain results favourable to their cause. This is common sense. It is real, and available to validate by every man, woman and child with a computer in this province.

It’s time to stop the petty bickering and direct our collective efforts at the true culprits of ecological destruction in this province. Bears, deer and other wildlife can’t pick their way across the side of a mountain cleared by logging. Nor can ATVs or hikers.

To both groups I say, “Grow up.” To the public I say, “Wake up.”

Brad Churchill

Calgary

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6 Responses to “These are the real culprits in land destruction”

  1. biff says:

    great letter!
    j57 will read your insight with scorn, as will most of the redneck-head-in-the-tarsands group that are very dependent on the industry (while it pays the basics, it also pays the jacked up trucks and ohvs bills). regardless, your perspective is accurate. divide and rule still works. the type of economy we are conditioned into is a classic divide and rule. it also keeps us dumb and in denial. perhaps the biggest joke of it all is that the real wealth leaves us as it rolls into the hands of the few, and we are left with the enviro disaster, and the boom and bust, and continued dependency on a group of exploiters that cares nothing for the people nor for the environment. to those that feel they are not religious, i say you do have a god, and it is big oil/big corp. keep bowing down to the master you adore.

  2. Resolute says:

    Hey Brad, your 55000 ft altitude is only slightly higher than airliners fly. We all have been there and seen lots of urban development where once was pristine parkland, gravel pits and surface mines where once stood mountains, farmland where trees stretched from horizon to horizon. I would say clearcutting and surface oilsands in Canada leave marks but both pale in comparison to other human activity. In any case you have blinders on by looking at only the negative effects human development has on the earth. What about the health and lifestyle benefits gained by development. Where would we get pulp for books, lumber for construction? Could we fight cancer, heart attacks, immune diseases, birthing deaths etc without the resources gained by this development? Not that I can figure. I agree that some consequences appear bad. Take the time to understand the processes and people involved. Respect that most all have the best interest of mankind at heart as they go about their jobs. They are not intending global destruction any more than you portend to in your letter. Respect and be constructive. Work to change those activities with low benefits relative to costs. But please do not blindly condemn entire groups of people and businesses by climbing on the current sensationalizing the situation bandwagon without trying to understand that situation.

    • BradChurchill says:

      Resolute, I don’t believe you got the spirit of the message I was trying to convey. Two of many groups interested in preserving our back country are bickering like petulant children, firing shots across the bow at each other while much more significant damage is being done by other parties. You evidently DIDN’T open Google Earth and check out the damage done by industry. Here’s a great example: On one side of the Forestry trunk road circled in blue is over 1,000km of single track and quad trails in the trees. For over 30 years off road races have been held in that area at least 3 times a year for 100’s of racers. Yet all you can see are seismic lines and well sites. On the exact opposite side of the road, adjacent to the Fallen Timber Provincial Recreation area you can clearly see that thousands of acres of land have been completely wiped of trees by logging. Here you go:
      http://www.Choklat.com/images/FallenTimber.jpg NOW, WHO DOES MORE DAMAGE???? This is not an isolated case. I can provide examples all day and all night throughout our province. Yes. We have all benefited from the logging industry. Yes we have all benefited (and still do) from the oil and gas industry. However the point that I am trying to make is that the companies that harvest the resources to afford us a better life, and allow us to print books and fight cancer as you so put it, are NOT appropriately reclaiming the land they harvest after they’ve raped it clean!!! If a company wants to drill a well. Great. We depend on oil. Go drill the well. But bloody well put some money in Trust to replant ALL of the trees when they are done. And those of you in government, make note that it takes over 100 years for the trees to regrow into a mature stand of timber. That needs to be managed. We all need to do our part to preserve that which we are privileged to have access to, and right now the management of that resource is NOT being handled well. My message was simply that it’s time to stop justifying the destruction of our land and resources while pointing at a scapegoat and blaming them. WE ALL NEED TO COME TOGETHER. Oh… and one other thing: The image I have provided was taken from 21km (69,000 ft) above the surface of the earth – more than two times higher than that which a commercial airliner flies. The damage is still crystal clear.

  3. BradChurchill says:

    Here is another image if you don’t believe me. This is of the Whitecourt area from a height of 64km above the surface of the Earth (210,000 feet up). Aside from the clearcut logging that you can see, every one of those little white squares is a 100m X 100m clearing where a well sits. Now don’t forget the road infrastructure that has also been cleared of trees 25m wide by thousands of km long to service those wells. WHO DOES THE DAMAGE???? You could combine every single interest group and the footprint they create in our back country and not even remotely dent the amount of damage that’s been done by logging and oil and gas. Studies and politicians lie. Your eyes don’t. Click here to see the truth:
    http://www.Choklat.com/images/Whitecourt.jpg

  4. LGLee says:

    Here are a couple for you:

    The first one is from Crowsnest Mountain to Nanton. It’s zoomed out to 129 km so it’s a little harder to discern what’s what, but a good portion of the light areas within the white rectangle are logging cuts. Notice the three coal mines off to the west. The area is larger than the new Castle park.

    https://i.imgur.com/obyTXn2.png

    Once you start to zoom in, though, it’s easy to to see what’s going on. Kilometer after kilometer of logging cuts, and the tops of mountains cut clean off.

    https://i.imgur.com/IS7omYP.png

  5. biff says:

    just to say b.c. has provided an excellent perspective, and long with his links and those added by lgl, we have ample evidence of devastation. all of this has been allowed by our gov’ts, which now includes the ndp – a group that had once appeared to care for the natural world. we are owned by big corp, and governed by simple fools that care only about their taste for power and a good payday. keep voting for your favourite of tweedle-dum or tweedle-dee; one day, perhaps, the reality that we are being played will strike you.


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