A matrure forest ecosystem with trees, lichen, moss and fallen logs

The Cortes open letter and community engagement with Mosaic

On Thursday, March 31, Regional Director Noba Anderson gave Mosaic Forest Management an open letter* calling for them to make changes to their plan for logging on Cortes Island

Noba Anderson – submitted photo

The organizers are concerned that Mosaic’s plan to log between 6,000 – 8,000 m3 per year is more than Cortes forests can grow back.

They stated they will support harvest only within these guidelines:

  1. “At an annual volume which is less than 20% of the volume of wood the forest grows each year in the Cortes harvest land base, so forests may increase in volume and age through time.
  2. No cutting or roadbuilding where winter water stands or where there will be harm to riparian areas.
  3. No cutting of trees presently older than 140 years old – these are irreplaceable.”

They are also inviting Mosaic to a respectful community meeting in mid-April.

(You can access an online copy of the Open Letter to Mosaic/Island Timberlands here)

Anderson said that Molly Hudson, Mosaic’s Director of Sustainability, was understandably cautious about the proposed meeting when the two met on Thursday. 

“I reiterated to her that although this community is very passionate and can speak out, we have a great history about doing really good, respectful community process and meetings.  I assured her that I would do everything in my power, as would other organizers, to have it be respectful,”  said Anderson.

She added that, “The open letter is not my initiative. It has nothing to do with me and I have not signed it, but I certainly know about its existence and was in receipt of a copy of it last week. And again, I’m copied on the letter sent to Mosaic yesterday with, I believe, some 440 signatures.”

Hudson said she is thinking about the April meeting and will get back to Anderson this week.

“As is often the case with liaising between the Cortes community and external agencies, I take a position of process support. So what I have said to Mosaic Island Timberlands, and again, reiterated my conversation with Molly Hudson their community person, yesterday is that I’m offering my support to find a better community engagement process and way with the island. I will stay out of the content around forestry management, the sustainability content et cetera, but rather trying to support the dialogue,” said Anderson.

Mosaic is planning to take two groups of up to 12 people on field walks through some of the proposed harvest area near the Gorge on April 21.

Anderson asked them to expand the area to include the Delights Lake area.

She also said the current date for Mosaic’s proposed open house on Cortes Island does not work for the community.  

“June doesn’t really work well for the community here. We would like to see that sooner. She had no problem, in theory, moving that up till May and bringing her team at that time,” said Anderson.

“Then I indicated to her that the community was very interested in having a community meeting when they were up here in April to do their community walks and to share with them some of the community knowledge and history about our relationship with those  private forest lands that are now owned by Island Timberlands Mosaic. We’ve had a long, long history, as a community, with those lands.” 

Cortes Island residents have already done extensive mapping and ground truthing in the areas to be cut. 

*Correction: In the initial version of this story Cortes Currents referred to the open letter as a ‘petition,’ which is not the impression the authors of that document wish to convey.

Top photo credit: Screenshot from Daniel Pierce’s video ‘Cortes Island Ancient Forest #3: Delight Lake Watershed

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