It might be a stretch, but grassroots group is pushing ahead in an attempt to stop anymore logging slated for the mountainside above the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s Cottonwood Lake Park located 10 kilometers south of Nelson on Highway 6.
The recently formed Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society is urgently working towards a major grant deadline of January 17th and has set up a GoFundMe page to assist in the campaign.
“To save the land, we need to get it into public hands,” Andrew McBurney, spokesperson for the society said in a media release.
“The land is privately owned, and the logging is unregulated,” McBurney adds. “That means the two large parcels that run along the west side of Highway 6, surrounding Cottonwood Lake and the Apex Nordic Ski Area can be completely clearcut — from the top of the ridge to the shore of the lake and its adjacent wetlands. The visual impact alone will be severe.”
The stop logging campaign was launched following a meeting on the controversial private land harvesting plan, held at the Nelson Rod and Gun Club December 19 where more than 400 people attended.
The standing room only crowd, with some people listening to speakers from outside the doors, heard experts in avalanche control and grizzly bears, a biologist on the effects logging has on wildlife, a hydrologist, as well as representatives from the Nelson Cycling Club, Rod and Gun Club, Nordic Ski Club, councilors, Jesse Woodward, Keith Page and Rik Logtenberg and RDCK Area G Director Hans Cunningham.
Since the GoFundMe campaign was launched, more than 300 donors have raised $36,600.
Proponents are concerned the proposed harvest — slated to begin as early as March 1 — will negatively impact the gateway to Nelson and Whitewater, the Apex Nordic Trail network and popular fishing, skating, mountain biking, and hiking trails.
The area also contains a sensitive wetland ecosystem that feeds two watersheds and local water licenses, an important wildlife corridor for grizzly bears and other large mammals, and potential avalanche zones above the Nelson Nordic trail system and Cottonwood Lake.
McBurney says the Cottonwoods conservation effort isn’t aiming to vilify anyone, and that proponents want to find a win-win for everyone involved, with the help of local and regional government.
“We can do this. But we need the public’s help. Urgently,” said McBurney. “Make a donation today, spread the word and urge community and government leaders for their support. The future of this beautiful area, what it gives all of us, and how it reflects our community values is at stake.”