In the Bowron River valley of British Columbia, there is a logging clearcut so vast that astronauts can see it. Sixty kilometers to the northwest lies Prince George, a once-thriving city of 80,000 that has experienced an accelerating 40-year virtual clearcut that has slashed through the strata of its economic and social culture, wiping out its locally- owned businesses and industries, demoralizing its public institutions and its local politics, and creating a psychological quagmire of entertainment opportunities, consumer franchises, and dreams that won’t come true.
Prince George has lost its ability to control its destiny, and is losing its will to care. Author Brian Fawcett, who grew up in Prince George and has followed its steady decline, draws a troubling parallel between the shattered forests of Bowron and the gradual destruction of a town’s confidence and quality of life, a wake-up call to the rest of the world.
Virtual Clearcut is classic Fawcett: a blend of unconventional analysis, poignant vignettes, and biting humour. His concern is for the condition of good people and places hit hard by globalization, and how the globalists are harvesting so much more than mere profits from the hinterlands.