I got this email from the Wilderness Committee to share:
I’m writing today because this is our last chance to help gain protection for the McLellan Park East Forest in Langley! Some of you may have written letters about this forest before, but this time instead of writing to Langley Township Council, we’re asking you to write a short letter to the BC Minister of Environment asking him to do all that he can to help ensure this forest is protected.
Efforts to save the McLellan Forest became the 2012 Story of the Year in The Langley Advance, and the story gained even broader news coverage with artist Robert Bateman‘s visit to the forest and his support for its protection. As part of the conservation efforts, 160 high school kids came and made art in the forest, then organized a poetry reading and photo show. A group of these students is currently putting together a documentary. The Opus Women’s Choir performed in the forest on Dec. 23rd, and a poetry initiative in the woods—the Han Shan Poetry Project—also garnered local and national attention.
BC Ministry of Environment staff visited the forest and have affirmed that it has very high conservation values and should be protected as an ecological reserve. In fact, they stated that it was a “regional acquisition priority,” but that they have no budget at the present time.
Thankfully, the strong level of public support for protecting this forest led Langley Township Council to defer its decision on the fate of the forest…but only until January 21st. We feel that there are certain ways in which the province could work with Langley to avoid losing this important natural asset. But they need to know that people want and will support these efforts.
Please use the letter-writing tool on our website to write a letter to BC Environment Minister Terry Lake, and tell him how important it is that this unique forest be protected. This is our last chance to share our concerns before the Langley Township makes its decision next week. Click here to write today!
Thank you so much for your support in this final push to win protection for this forest.
For the wild,
Joe Foy | National Campaign Director
This is the letter that I sent from the letter writing page at the Wilderness Committee website”
Hon. Terry Lake
BC Minister of Environment
PO Box 9047 Stn. Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
CC: Hon. Steve Thompson, BC Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Hon. Rich Coleman, MLA, Fort Langley-Aldergrove
RE: Please Help Protect Langley’s McLellan Park East Forest!
I am writing to request that the province use its authority to grant formal protection to this forest as an ecological reserve as has been recommended by BC government staff during a visit to the area.
The endangered McLellan Park East Forest totals about 25 acres of mature second-growth forest and remnant wetlands, and is surrounded by agricultural and rural residential areas. Portions of the forest contain western redcedar trees and western hemlocks—some up to 250 years old—as well as some Sitka spruce and bigleaf maple trees.
This forest has been in the Township’s control for generations and is a wonderful place for walking, hiking, playing and simply exploring the natural landscape. Since the forest is already owned by the public, it is not right that community members should be forced to raise millions of dollars in funds to purchase the land in order to keep it that way.
As reported recently in the Vancouver Sun, BC government endangered species biologist Kym Welstead advised the Township to conserve the property, noting that the property is “ecologically unique,” features “high biodiversity value,” and has exceptional value as habitat for species at risk. BC government staff have said the forest is a “regional acquisition priority”, but that there is no budget for the acquisition at this time.
McLellan Forest West has been taken off the market for now, but is not fully protected. Granting formal protection to this forest as an ecological reserve would protect this valuable forest/recreational area.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my view on this important environmental issue.
Today’s “stone” is Day 16 steely sky, lost horizon, purple-hue sheet of clouds, sombre grey day