EDITORIAL: Wilkinson left weighty legacy

Wildwood founder left legacy everyone can learn from and emulate.

Merve Wilkinson promoted sustainable living before it was popular.

He lived in a forest that was selectively logged multiple times to show that it was possible to live off the land without destroying the forest.

When people in power made decisions he disagreed with, he was unafraid to question them, and he openly voiced his disdain for governments pandering to private forest companies.

He stood behind his convictions, protesting clear-cut logging in Clayoquot Sound, despite the threat of arrest.

He garnered respect and friendship from leaders from all over the world in not only forestry, but also conservation and environmentalism.

He did all this from his 55-hectare property in Yellow Point called Wildwood, a place that attracts international experts, university students and anyone with an interest in forestry to learn from Wilkinson’s teachings.

Despite his death last week at the age of 97, Wilkinson also had the foresight to ensure his legacy lives on, by entrusting his beloved property to The Land Conservancy to continue holding workshops and other educational opportunities for the public.

A fitting tribute to the Member of the Order of Canada would be some kind of permanent memorial recognizing the contribution Wilkinson made to sustainable forest practices.

Renaming of a woodlot, building or program at Vancouver Island University would be a start.

To truly honour Wilkinson, however, would be to see his vision and legacy at Wildwood grow and expand, to show that people can live and use the land without decimating the habitat of other living creatures for our own selfish gain.