........Comment by Bill Moore

...The forest around us

Is it true what they
say about tourism?

....And so it came to pass in British Columbia that tourism became Number One – and the forest industry joined Avis. I guess that’s what you get for not trying harder.
....You know, it’s a funny thing about statistics – add them up your way and they’ll say what you want them to say. And I keep seeing in the newspapers (Forest Industry) and in magazines (Forest Industry) that in dollar volume the tourist industry (now that’s a silly word for it) is about to or is now ahead of the forest industry.
....Firstly I’ve no argument with tourists. They have interesting license plates. Most of them are Americans and neighborly. And it’s not their fault that some statistician needs his pencil sharpened or his head examined!
....I chatted with a chap who makes his living quoting people in high places and he felt that the Forest Industry would decline. But worse than that I hear remarks continually from forest industry people to the effect that :if” such and such isn’t done by government – or unions – this industry shall no longer be competitive, i.e. – the tourist industry grabs the gold ring.
Balderdash! And Fiddle de de! Sure – if we don’t do anything 1 or if we lie down – or if we blame everyone else for our own faults, then we decline, and deservedly so. But we ain’t down yet chaps, and the last report I had there were still a lot of trees to be logged and houses to be built and papers to be read.
....I’m not trying to be a great defender of the forest industry and its
rightful place in the scheme of things, but I do like to see the record kept straight. Now what is tourism? How does it add up all those big numbers and suddenly become Hertz?
....You and I are tourists when we leave our town and go to another town and register at a motel or hotel. We are tourists when we attend conven-tions. We are tourists when we take out camper or tent and go off for a weekend’s fishing or hunting and stay at a camper ground or a forest service park.
....The folks from the U.S.A. or from other countries who are also called tourists are attracted here by many things – but one of the biggies is our forested parks, our forested hunting grounds, our forested streams – and they gain access to most of these by roads built by the forest industry. Whose side of the ledger does that go on Mr. Pencil-Pusher?
....I don’t believe our chaps in Victoria have ever been able to come to grips with the real value of B.C.’s forest industry. Oh sure, they see the tax sheets, stumpage sales and profits, but they don’t identify this with the shoemaker in Port Alberni, or the Super Value in Prince George, or the government liquor store in Port McNeill, or the McDonalds in Terrace or the bank in Campbell River. The payrolls of those towns, like many others, come primarily from wooden dollars.
....The forest industry dollars regen-erate themselves a dozen times in this province or in any forested province in
Canada. The tourist dollars would not have that same regeneration or near the impact.
....Hotels and motels are a big part of the tourist industry and they spend their dollars in smart advertising to this effect. But remember that people connected with the forest industry – salesmen, businessmen, delegations, conventions and yes, even loggers, stay in those same hotels with money earned by the tree.

....The tourist industry is unquestion-ably an important source of revenue for many in this province and in others. It is the holiday industry as against the forest industry that is a workaday industry. Far easier to glamorize a nice holiday than to speak the praises of working in a noisy sawmill or stumbling around in felled and bucked timber. Anyone who can glamorize that has to have rocks in his head.

....We hear talk of the decline of this forest industry – that foreign markets are beating our costs, that foreign jungles are being turned into instant growth evergreens and that we are losing our productivity. I argue with none of these statements, but I classify them as partly a defeatist attitude on the part of those who speak these words. Certainly we can decline if we don’t keep our nose to the grindstone. And our per man productivity may not be the same as it used to be. But that’s what we invented the tools of automation for. Maybe people don’t put out what they used to, but then we

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got rid of the 10 hour day and the 48 hour week and life is not as strenuous for the work force. This does not have to mean that as a people we are in decline, we just want to live better.

....As to other foreign forests taking away our markets, remember our gov-ernment doesn’t run these forests and other governments have nasty habits of taking over other chaps’ businesses. We know we have some of the great-est renewable forests in the world and if we keep our senses and our com-petitive spirit, there is no reason to be knocked out by anyone.

....As the populations of the world expand and as the economies grow in the emerging nations, there will be an ever increasing demand for wood products. Common sense tells us if we stay com-petitive, we will get our share of the demand. The recent announcements of M & B and Crown Zee of their proposed heavy spending programs certainly show a faith in the future. And maybe, just maybe one can detect a tiny crack in the attitude of union and management leaders toward their non-trust in each other. It sure is time for the big chaps to ease off the old attitude of the past on both sides. This unfreezing would carry us a long way into keeping our room at the top.
....For this forest industry of ours contains a lot of good intelligent people from top to bottom. We’ve got some very good bullcooks looking after camps and a pretty fair bunch of presidents too – both management and union. I feel they can collectively keep this industry in the number one spot, but they must work at it – ‘tain’t easy McGee!
....It makes one wonder just how successful a tourist industry could be without a healthy viable forest industry. Who will maintain all the thousands of miles of access logging roads for those avid hunters and fishermen? How do the gas stations and small stores survive the winter without the local money of a working work force in the forest industry? And where does the new money come from to build highways for the hordes of campers if the forest industry isn’t paying taxes!
....The forest industry – when it is strong – leaves a cobweb of money trails behind it. Tugboats tow logs, manu-facturers build logging trucks, shoe manufacturers make caulk boots, airlines carry needed parts, and even statisticians are kept employed. Oh, it’s a multi-handed industry this tree business, but of course as to how big it

is depends on your set of statistics.
....As stated before, I am not putting down the good tourist industry, just keeping the record straight. You know a little ego about our own darn industry doesn’t hurt us one darn bit. There are enough cynics about to keep us on our toes without all of us getting that “number two” feeling. Let the Avis people worry about that, after all, they thought it up and they seem to revel in that attitude.

....So the next time you see one of those exotic license plates from the “Everglade State” or the “Jumping


Frog State,” smile and wave at the folks. Enjoy their delightful accents, listen to their stories of the cold East or the desert South. We know this isn’t Bali Bali – it’s good old, sometimes rainy B.C. – where one of the world’s greatest renewable forests thrives, and gives it’s people its number one industry. Lumber, pulp, plywood, shingles, cardboard – a forest industry and all its subsidiary benefits. Let’s keep it that way by –
.........................Keep out of the bight,

British Columbia Lumberman, April, 1977  
page 81