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Timberlands extend logging road in Okarito Forest

Media release
Native Forest Action
14 May 2000

Timberlands extend logging road in Okarito Forest

A South Westland resident has alerted Native Forest Action that Timberlands West Coast has just extended a logging road in world famous Okarito Forest. Timberlands has just pushed about one kilometre of road into the heart of virgin rimu forest at Okarito. This involved clearfelling about 10,000 square meters of dense rimu forest. A recent parliamentary question also revealed that TWC plans to cut another half a kilometre of roading in Okarito forest within the next year." said Peter Russell, West Coast spokesperson for Native Forest Action

"The logging of publicly owned native forests was a major election issue" said Mr Russell. "The government has a clear mandate from the public to stop all logging activities in these forests right now. Road construction is a particularly destructive activity and you don't need to be a scientist to realise that it has serious impacts on forests. Such impacts include enhancing predator and weed dispersal, disrupting drainage and suddenly exposing large areas of forest to wind and sunlight".

Tomorrow (Monday) the government announces whether it will allow these sorts of impacts to continue in publicly owned native forests. "The government needs to consider if it is serious about protecting the forests" said Mr Russell. "We hope the government is not prepared to further compromise their high conservation values - against the will of the public. The integrity and sanctity of the forests is at stake and so is the government's credibility".

The person who alerted Native Forest Action to the new roading was caught in the forest by Timberlands employee and Coast Action Network chair Barry Nicolle. Mr Nicolle was furious and told the person to leave immediately. A few days later they received a trespass notice and now cannot legally return to the public forest for two years. "Understandably, Timberlands and Coast Action Network don't want the public to know about the damage being done to this internationally significant forest" said Mr Russell.

New photographs of massive logs from Okarito Forest and rimu stockpiles are available on the Native Forest Action website: www.nfa.org.nz

Additional photographs of the new logging road in Okarito Forest will be available on the website tomorrow (Monday).

Ends. For further information, contact: Peter Russell, West Coast Spokesperson Native Forest Action Ph. 03/789-8734

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