BC Wood Makes Beautiful Music

This Yamaha guitar has an old growth sitka spruce solid wood soundboard.
B.C. wood is in 80% of the world’s solid wood guitar soundboards. 

British Columbia's old growth forests are the number one go-to wood lot of choice for local and international guitar makers alike.

"Abbotsford-based David Lapeyrouse of Timbre Tonewood, who supplies wood to guitar makers, estimates there are 10,000 guitar builders in North America, 1,000 in Canada and a disproportionate 500 or more in B.C. At one point, back in 1999, Lapeyrouse had a quarter of the global market in solid wood soundboards, the vital resonating top face of a guitar. 
Why is B.C. such a hot spot for luthiers and instrument-grade wood? Three reasons -
  1. Jean Larrivée of Larrivée guitars,
  2. artisan Michael Dunn, and
  3. B.C.’s old growth forests.
 The growing number of aging boomers doesn’t hurt either. 

Classical guitar with birdseye maple side and back, and cedar soundboard.

B.C. wood is in 80 per cent of the world’s solid wood soundboards, Lapeyrouse said. The remaining guitars are plywood topped — and most of those are surfaced with B.C. wood. 
B.C. is world-renowned for its old growth Engelmann and Sitka spruce and red cedar “tone wood.” Luthiers (artisans who make stringed instruments) covet the straight, fine grain found in old forests where trees compete for light and grow slowly. The wood must be carefully lined up along two dimensions for cutting. 
“The tonal quality is based on whether it’s cut right so it captures the wood’s natural strength,” Lapeyrouse said. Cut it wrong and you get a thud instead of a musical ting when you tap the wood. 
Of nine million guitars built globally each year, 2.5 million have solid wood tops, with two million come from B.C. at about $15 million wholesale, Lapeyrouse said. Most of the wood is shipped to Taiwan, Korea and China."

This department store special is made of plywood. While it has its
merits, superb tonal quality is not one of them.

It is important to harvest valuable old growth sustainably so we can continue to have access to high grade instrument-quality wood.

Decisions we make now will affect musicians and instrument makers for centuries to come.

Read more about BC guitars and guitar makers here


It's Time To Pay Our Debt To Trees

It is time to pay our debt… with interest.
Photo: TJ Watt

Many researchers believe that if it weren't for the amazing versatility of wood, civilization as we know it would never have developed.

"Wood is humanity's oldest natural resource. We have no older or deeper debt."

- Hugh Johnson, author of The World of Trees

It is time to show our gratitude and respect for our global tree community, and pay our debts... with interest. 

If that is even possible, considering tree's immense contribution to our well-being since the dawn of humanity.

I suggest that we at least try before it is too late.


Witty Beach Road Trail Closure

Two large Douglas-fir trees greet visitors to the parking lot at the end
of Witty Beach Road in Metchosin, BC.

Following the short, but scenic Witty Beach Road in the rural Vancouver Island community of Metchosin, takes you to a small parking lot by the ocean. For most people the beach is the destination, and a beautiful one it is, but there are other attractions.

While beach access from this spot has been restricted recently by a closed set of crumbling stairs, my favourite features remain - two large, old Douglas-fir that dominate the area.

Witty Beach can still be accessed via the main parking lot
 at Witty's Lagoon Regional Park.

Access stairs in better times. The steep slope they were
anchored on is unstable.

There are not many big Douglas-fir left, let alone ones you
can drive right up to like these.
Officials are uncertain as to when the beach access at Witty Beach Road will reopen. For the time being it is worth a drive to visit the trees before going to the main parking lot down the road to access the beach.


BC Liberals: Public Parks Are Open For Private Exploitation

Will industrial development be coming to a park near you?
How about in Cathedral Grove?
In the news for a while was more evidence that nothing is officially sacred any more. Everything public is being privatized, and now that includes BC's park system.

Here we thought that our hard-fought battles were to preserve special places for future generations. Now we can see that we were just preserving special places for future corporate exploitation.

How much do they want of our public land? All of it - 100%.

And they will get it (including the 12% of land designated as provincial parks in BC) if we don't raise our voices and tell them to keep their hands off our sacred trust.

The following is from Bill 4 Passes: B.C. Parks Now Officially Open…To Pipelines and Drilling:

March 25, 2014
A little-known Bill, the Park Amendment Act, that will drastically alter the management of B.C. parks is set to become law today, creating controversy among the province’s most prominent environmental and conservation organizations. 
The passage of Bill 4 will make way for industrial incursions into provincial parklands including energy extraction, construction of pipelines and industry-led research. 
The Bill, quietly introduced in mid-February, has already met significant resistance in B.C. where the Minister of Environment received “thousands of letters” of opposition, according to Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Peter Wood. 
“There has been absolutely zero public consultation, and the pace at which this was pushed through suggests this was never a consideration,” he said in a press release. 
“This Bill undermines the very definition of what a ‘park’ is,” Gwen Barlee from the Wilderness Committee said in the same statement, “given that our protected areas will now be open to industrial activity.” 
“This is a black day for B.C. Parks – the provincial government is ensuring that none of our parks are now safe from industrial development,” she said. 
According to staff lawyer Andrew Gage with the West Coast Environmental Law the bill is “difficult to square” with the sentiments underlying the B.C. Parks Service, which claims provincial parks and conservancies are a “public trust” for the “protection of natural environments for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of the public.”

See a list of the provincial parks at risk here