Re: Letter to the Editor, “Beyond the beetle” (Valley Echo, October 24) by Doug Clovechok. As a retired professional forester who led the provincial forestry program dealing with insects and disease, I am compelled to correct Doug Clovechok’s outlandish and misleading statements.
The Mountain Pine Beetle is endemic to interior pine forests; this means it is ever-present feeding away. Clovechok’s claim that if we had dealt with the beetle outbreak in Tweedsmuir Park, we would have stopped the vast scale of the infestation is unsupported by science. It is wrong and nothing but crass political opportunism.
In my 40-year career as a professional forester, I have never seen such a betrayal of public trust in the management of B.C.’s publicly owned forests as I have witnessed over the last decade.
Having disbanded the world renowned forest research branch, eviscerated the B.C. Forest Service, slashed funding for compliance and enforcement, for inventory and for reforestation of forests disturbed by fire and insects, Clovechok and his government are now advocating for the privatization of public forests through area-based Tree Farm Licences.
If Clovechok wishes to fight an honest election campaign, which he has apparently started, he is best advised to steer clear of his government’s abject failings, in particular the mismanagement of our parks, forests and environment and the disposal of public assets (now forests).