Nfld. & Labrador

Port Blandford families take to the woods to protest commercial clear-cutting plan

Just a typical rural Newfoundland boil-up in the woods: soup and sandwiches, hotdog roasting — and signs protesting a clear-cutting plan.

Residents met Saturday to show they appreciate the woods, and want to preserve them

Roughly 100 residents and property owners from Port Blandford attended a community boil-up and clear-cutting protest Saturday. (Submitted)

It was just a typical rural Newfoundland boil-up in the woods: soup and sandwiches, hotdog roasting — and signs protesting a clear-cutting plan.

"There's been a lot of concern, people getting sad and angry," said Abigail Hann. 

Roughly 100 people turned out for Saturday's event in Port Blandford, just south of Terra Nova National Park in central Newfoundland, to show solidarity against a plan to allow commercial woodcutting in the area.

Residents of all ages showed up for the boil-up. (Submitted)

The proposal is that 158,000 cubic metres of wood be harvested from four distinct areas surrounding Port Blandford.

"We're not really sure what's going on, if our concerns are being listened to or if anything is changing yet, so it was a chance for everyone to get out and talk in person," Hann said. 

She said the get-together was also a chance for residents to have some fun, and make more people in the province aware of the situation. 

"I feel that it could happen anywhere if this happens to us, if we lose our surrounding forests and all of this area that we use and hold and love," said Hann. 

"We've already gotten the attention of the government and Forestry that we've been meeting with, the committee has been speaking with."

Hann, who lives in Halifax now but grew up in Port Blandford, said residents are worried about how the clear-cutting will affect their use of the land.

"It's our pastime. We have cabins. We snowshoe and we go fishing," she said.

"There's a lot of concerns about what it'll do to our salmon river. The Southwest River valley is where a lot of the clear-cutting would take place, and the Southwest River is a salmon river."

Hann said she's concerned about the environmental impacts, like the Middle Ridge caribou herd, pine marten, and that the watershed is in the area. 

Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources Gerry Byrne had said government is open to changes to the plan.