“A Fable of the Forest”
....These are the years of change, and that change is not just confined to other lands or other people. We here in British Columbia and in the forests around us are very much a part of the changing scheme of things. No industry or no people can stand still – for to do so is to wither on the vine. There must be pro-gress. Good progress is costly, not only in terms of economics, but also in terms of the minds of men.
....There are so many different thinkings in the minds of men today. Some of these thought if put into action would change the course of our lives and cus-toms as we know them today.
The battle of ideas is in full swing. It is a serious battle for democracy to wage However, I’ve always felt that a note of humor never did a serious problem too much harm. We are so prone to allow ourselves to get up tight in these days of change that we literally sometimes can’t see the trees for the forest.
....With this in mind I present a fable. Take it as you will and for what you find it – I write it with tongue in teeth.
....................THE FABLE
....And it came to pass in the year 2003 that the old provincial party in power was finally defeated. After being in control of British Columbia’s govern-ment for over 50 years, they were defeated at the polls by the recently formed Enviro Party.
....It was a total defeat for the old guard and a hard sought-after win for the Enviros, as they swept into power with their slogan of “Wood is Good”. And true to their campaign promise they passed an order-in-council the hence-forth it became illegal and a crime against the state to cut down, limb or deface a tree in British Columbia.
....Speaking to the citizens of B.C. from his underwater office in the Gulf Islands, the new premier (or top Echo as he is now called) stated that from now on British Columbia (or as it was due to be called “Plain Columbia”) would be a garden of beauty for nature lovers – and never again would the ear-polluting sounds of power-saws be heard in the forest; only the
sounds of happy people and happy animals.
....And so as it must to all things, the end came to the forest industry of British Columbia (or plain Columbia). Gone was the smoke from the pulp mills and lumber mills.
....Parked and idle and rusting where the monster machines of the logging camps. Empty where the towns of Alberni, Prince George, Gold River, Quenel and many others, for the citizens could find no work in pulp, lumber, plywood, shingle or broom handle factories.
....“Wood is Good” signs were plastered on every forest industry building. The great grey MB building in downtown Vancouver was turned it into a giant pigeon loft, for the pigeon became the symbol of “Peace And Good Through Wood”.
....Forest rangers were retrained by the Forest Service, and taught animal husbandry so they might better assist animals in the forest and fish in the streams. Forestry graduates from the university of B.C. were in heavy de-
British Columbia Lumberman, June, 1971

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mand as tourist guides in the forest. A group of people were arrested for cutting firewood near Fort Nelson in the winter. They gave as their excuse that they were cold. A young boy and girl were sentenced to a year in jail for carving their initials in a maple tree and thereby defacing the tree. A relative of a former minister of Lands, Forests And Water Resources was detained for questioning in Victoria for snipping a Japanese cherry blossom from a tree near the former Parliament Building. The International Wood Workers Of America Union was disbanded due to a lack of membership. Membership was down to two: a Mr. Thompson and a Mr. Moore.
....And so all these things happened – and the Enviro Party repealed the old laws and made new ones. And the old parties were driven from power.
....But it is whispered in private that several cells of the old parties are now at work planning the overthrow of the Enviros. At several political rallies lately the Minister Of Environment and Happy Forestry was questioned on a possible concession to the new Happy Forest Law whereby fire wood could
be cut for hospital and school use. The ques-tionnaire was told he was using radical talk and was thrown out of the hall.
....And so forestry pollution ceased to exist. Great rallies were held by the En-viro Party and the citizens were told that the day of Environmental Freedom had arrived. And the crowds did cheer. It was noted that 12 short-haired young- looking radicals calling themselves the Forest Extremists were quietly marching on the outskirts of the rallies with signs that read “Free The Tree” and “Cut the Trees or we Freeze”. They were quickly dispersed and two of them were arrested by the efficient green uniform Enviro guards.
....It was noted by the statistics branch of the government that the population of Plain Columbia had taken a drastic turn down as many people were immigrating to Brazil an Equatorial East Africa to work in the forests. The price of newspapers has gone to $5 a copy because of the imported newsprint and housing starts were down to one – A new Environmental Headquarters on Saturna Island built of compressed broken glass bricks.
....In a statement from the government it noted that the people were happy. They were not working, but they were happy. And the forest was full of people. They were laughing and eating the grasses and roots. Someone re-marked the total absence of animals from the happy scene.
....And the trees still grew in the forest as they had done for centuries.

........... END OF THE FABLE

....This is a ridiculous fable, of course. It could only happen to a people who took up the banner of extremism. And I’m sure all you readers will agree that down through history people have always been noted for their tolerance and moderation. Or have they? Anyway, it’s a ridiculous fable. It could ever happen in the forest around us. Or could it?
........Keep out of the bight,