Posts Tagged ‘Tasmania’s Wild Forests’

Forest holocaust beyond loggers’ locked gates

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

If you go down into the woods today you’re sure in for a big surprise…but in Tasmania’s South-West it ain’t no teddy bear’s picnic.

One has to first get past the many infamous locked gates.  Forestry Tasmania (aka the State-sanctioned corporate logger) is sure to have locked its steel gates for very good reason – Forestry Tasmania doesn’t want the public to know the truth about what it is doing to Tasmania’s remaining wild forests.

Forestry Tasmania’s locked gate on the public road to the top of  Mount Tim Shea
(Suspiciously this public access road was deemed unfit for public travel coincidentally around the same time as Forestry Tasmania opened its ‘Adventure Hub’ in Maydena,
and equally coincidentally one of the hills they charge people for a ride to the top from reads ‘Adventure Hub’).
(Photo by Alan Lesheim)

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Rugged Mount Tim Shea, South-West Tasmania
Photo by Forestry Tasmania
^http://www.forestrytas.com.au/topics/2008/06/maydena-adventure-hub-opportunities

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Locked Gate on Five Road in the Upper Florentine
(connects to Cook’s Track which enters the Gordon River Road short of Camp Flozza)
(Photo by Alan Lesheim)

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Forestry Tasmania has hundreds of these padlocked gates throughout Tasmania’s wild forests.

The Wilderness Society’s spokesperson Amanda Sully said “Forestry Tasmania have a locked boom gate over the Huon Valley Wilderness and are refusing entry. This is just one of hundreds of gates on forestry roads in Tasmania.

“It’s very clear who is locking up the forests. People are sick and tired of seeing log truck after log truck coming from the clear felling behind these padlocked gates.
These are publicly-owned forests.
Forestry Tasmania is supposed to manage them for the benefit of all Tasmanians, not just the loggers” Ms Sully concluded.
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[Source:  ‘Forestry Tasmania – Locking up our forests‘, ^http://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/forests/19980924_mr

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Forestry Locked Gate on Blue Road, northern section of the Upper Florentine Valley
(Photo by Alan Lesheim)

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Author Anna Krien was on a quest for the truth described in her revealing expose book of 2010 into what’s stihl happening in Tasmania’s wild forests:

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‘Most people travelling through Tasmania will never know of the long-running hide-and-seek taking place in the labyrinth of logging roads beyond the bitumen.

Sightseers walk among 300-year-old trees, some of them 90 metres tall, in the Styx Big Tree Reserve, chainsaws can be heard in the distance.

The road into this attraction is lined with stage sets of wilderness.

At the rise of a hill, just before the nose of the car tilts downwards, passengers might glimpse a balding peak, a fleeting insight into the world behind the verge.’

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[Source:  ‘Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests‘, 2010 by Anna Krien pp.25-26, published by Black Inc. ^http://www.blackincbooks.com/books/woods, includes video interviews].

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So, this Editor, half way through the book, last month flew down to Hobart, hired a car and retraced the author’s journey into Tasmania’s South-West …

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Driving west along the old Hydro Electrical Commission’s (HEC)  Gordon River (Access) Road,
through Forestry’s logging town of  ‘Westerway’

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Noticeably, when driving out of Hobart I passed clearly wealthy residential suburbs, yet driving along the Gordon River Road these few isolated hamlets are not wealthy.  Their construction mostly seems temporary like mining companies would construct while the mine delivers.  The highway through the hamlets of Westerway, Fitzgerald and Maydena seems only for forest access, not for community.

I parked the car and walked through Maydena.

There is only the odd person out and about.  The place seems impoverished –  one small primary school, a notable lack of shops, lack of amenities, and little sign of any vibrant community.

It’s as if the profits from logging have driven right through the guts of these local villages and on to big corporations eastward.

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Past the National Park Hotel
where Tasmania’s champion wood-chopper ‘Big Dave’ holds pride of place above the pub’s fire place.

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Driving through Forestry’s old logging town of  ‘Fitzgerald’
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Driving through the old logging town of  ‘Maydena’
 
– a closed so-called ‘Adventure Hub’ on the left, yet its diesel bowser (circled) open for Forestry Tasmania vehicles and observed in used by Editor 20110928.

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Reminiscent of Australia’s 1850s Gold Rush, Tasmanian folk would have been lured west by Forestry to the promise of bountiful tall timber delivering reliable logging income and the promise of building personal wealth.

But along the Gordon River Road there is a stark absence of Forestry wealth.  Instead it seems Forestry has abandoned these Gordon River Road communities.

What Forestry has done is to sell out Tasmania’s traditional woodcraft industry for short term profit from flogging quality Tasmanian hardwood as cheap asian woodchips, destroying Tasmania’s forests timber communities in the process.  Then Gunns got greedy and Tasmania’s timber reputation has deteriorated thereafter.

Now Forestry Tasmania are clearfelling and selling out Tasmania’s rare forests to the asians direct, to the likes of  Ta Ann.  Forestry Tasmania is no more than a corporate pimp of Tasmanian rare forest heritage.

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“The road into this attraction is lined with stage sets of wilderness.”

Driving further west along the HEC Gordon River Road
– bulldozed in 1964 through 64km of pristine wilderness forest by the Hydro Electric Commission, and
funded by the then Menzies federal government at a cost of  £2.5 million (likely twenty times that in today’s terms – i.e. $50 million.
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Gordon River Road – signposted logging country

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“At the rise of a hill, just before the nose of the car tilts downwards, passengers might glimpse a balding peak”

 
 
The balding peak of Forestry Tasmania’s cable logging…’a fleeting insight into the world behind the verge’.
(Photo by editor 20110928 while on Gordon River Road heading west)

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An entire hill of  wild Tasmanian forest savagely cabled logged bare by Forestry Tasmania
Tourists can now see this from Gordon River Road.
(Photo by editor 20110928.  Click photo to enlarge.)

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Beyond the lock gates lies the ecological holocaust
(Photo by editor 20110928.  Click photo to enlarge.)

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Styx Valley Holocaust
(Photo by Rob Blakers)

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Tasmania’ s Styx Holocaust
September 2011 (Photo by Alan Lesheim)

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Forestry Tasmania’s Killing Fields

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Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
(Human mass murder comparable to Tasmania’s mass forest murder
– both crimes consistently against life)

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Google Maps (September 2011) satellite view of the forest rape by Forestry Tasmania
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Camp Flozza’s symbolic goddess of the ancient Florentine Forest
~ eco-raped by Forestry Tasmania in its January 2009 raid

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And they wonder why the people protest and are prepared to be arrested?
(Photo of forest defender being arrested at Forestry Tasmania’s police raid on Camp Flozza,
Upper Florentine Valley, 13th January 2009)

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Styx Valley Holocaust by Forestry Tasmania, September 2011
(Photo of editor 20110928.  Click photo to enlarge.)

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Forestry Tasmania padlocks gates 10 kilometres from clearfell around a protected Wedge-tailed Eagle nest

[Source:  ‘Loggers breach eagle nest protection laws again‘, Bob Brown, 20090827, ^http://bob-brown.greensmps.org.au/category/issues/environment/forestry/wielangta]

‘In the breeding season, a clear felling operation in Tasmania’s wild Upper Huon Valley has breached guidelines by smashing down forests next to an endangered Tasmania’s Wedge-tailed eagles’ nest. The Tasmanian Wedge-tailed eagle, with wingspan up to 3 metres, are one of the Earth’s 6 largest eagle species.

“After repeated controversies about woodchip operations burning or destroying eagle nests and causing failure of nesting because of bulldozers and chainsaws operations near nests, this failure of protection in the Huon is inexcusable. It makes a mockery of logging industry propaganda,” said Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown.

“The Ministers for Forestry and Environment who are responsible for Australia’s rare and endangered species don’t know, and don’t act in any helpful way.”

“It is as if the Howard Government never left office. These ministers have washed their hands of their role in the Wedge-tailed eagles’ fate. Logging laws in Tasmania state that a minimum of 10 hectares be left around an eagle’s nest,” said Senator Brown.

Forestry Tasmania has erected locked gates 10 kilometres from the nest logging site preventing public or media inspection.’

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Footage of the logged area and nest available here  (on YouTube):


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Meanwhile Forestry Tasmania on its ‘Adventure Forests‘ website promotes its ‘Top of the World Tour‘ from Maydena…

…’Go wild where eagles soar…Make the escape to the Eagle’s Eyrie on a Top of the World Tour.You’ll experience all the fun of the Railtrack Rider as you travel into the heart of the forest to explore long-abandoned bush heritage, before emerging to an alpine wonderland and an eagle’s eye view over the Tasmanian wilderness. There’s plenty of time for indulgence as well, with an individually-prepared gourmet lunchbox and fine regional wines enjoyed in the fireside comfort of the Eagles Eyrie.’

^http://adventureforests.com.au/maydena

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‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes

but having new eyes’

 

~ Marcel Proust, French novelist

 

 

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