A few months ago he had a plane ticket purchased and was contemplating leaving his home, family and friends behind.
Now he’s just looking for a place to cut.
Gilbert Ash, a Portland man who had been trying to work out a problem with a permit to cut crown timber that he says was made by government in 1993, has had his licence reinstated.The 60-year-old made his living as logger at a lumber mill that’s been in his family for close to 100 years. He found out 22 years ago that he was late in reinstating the permit at the time when forestry regulations concerning crown land changed; Ash was convinced an error was made.
Since then he has continued to cut and saw lumber to sell to Jamestown Lumber but was unable to access the unused forest surrounding his mill.
He wrote to government for years and still has many of letters, some of which date back to 1993.
Recently the department of forestry he got a letter saying his licence would be reinstated. He attributes Bonavista South MHA Glen Little, an article in The Packet and lobbying by friends for helping get his licence back.
However, the reinstatement stipulates he has to cut in a designated area.
“There’s nothing really there for me to cut. It’s in Winterbrook about 10 km away. It’s difficult for me because I’ve got no equipment for hauling because I haven’t been in the system for so long,” says Ash.
But several kilometers behind his mill there is more than enough unused forested area for him to cut until retirement.
“There’s that much there that I could never cut what’s there. I’d like to get it open so I can cut in that area,” says Ash.
Ash still has a trail of roads leading in behind his mill and he has had no protest or concerns from others living in the community. In fact, friends in the area have helped him start a petition that has been signed by many.
This area is the same land he logged for many years and his father and grandfather cut there before him.
“I can’t understand why I would be barred out of this area. I’m not in a situation to buy anything or go anywhere else,” says Ash.
Though he still has some hurdles to jump before getting back to logging full time, Ash says he was very excited to hear about the reinstatement.
“I couldn’t even talk after Mr. (MHA Glen) Little told me it was reinstated. It was very emotional. When you are barred out for 25 years, and then finally you are allowed to go back in, it’s pretty exciting,” he says.
Ash is still in the process of having meetings with the Department of Forestry and he is hoping they can find a resolution that works for him.