Last Stand West Kootenay halt logging at Duncan Reservoir
Members of Last Stand West Kootenay stood united Tuesday morning in blocking logging operations to continue on the West Side of the Duncan Reservoir (KM 58), 90 minutes north of Kaslo.
Last Stand West Kootenay, in light of a record year of wildfires nation-wide, is demanding an immediate moratorium on old growth logging and other clearcut practices — which the group believes puts undue stress on forest, increasing the severity and intensity of fires and thereby contributing to natural disasters and global warming.
‘’As the province declares a State of Emergency, to support ongoing response and recovery efforts caused by wildfire, we are demanding that more emphasis be placed on forestry and natural resources extraction reform,” says Dr. Meghan Beatty, member of Last Stand West Kootenay in a media release.
“This in turn will act as a strategy to neutralize or slow down the consequences of climate change.”
Land First Stewardship forest consultant Matthew Perry said people need leadership from the provincial and federal government to implement the changes.
“September 2023 will mark the 3rd year anniversary of A New Future for Old Forests, with commitments that fall short of the initial promise by the NDP to implement all of the 14 recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review,” Perry said.
‘’This is especially true for the Duncan, in the heart of the inland temperate rainforest,” says outdoor guide and educator Andrea Sevigny.
“This area has provided refuge for wildlife and is ‘the lungs of the Kootenay’, providing clean air and water for the residents of BC’s Interior. Especially through the smoke and the drought of recent years.’’
Craig Pettitt, Director of the Valhalla Wilderness Society said the area BCTS is logging, with the help of Galena Contractors Ltd. and Cooper Creek Cedar, is especially problematic, in lieu of this summer’s forest fires on that same ridge.
He said natural disturbances, along with the logging happening nearby old growth deferral areas, and to the very edge of the waterfront, in a low-elevation productive mature forest, are putting undue stress on the landscape.
‘’Recent telemetry reports indicate that these areas with cutblocks could be very important for the red-listed Deep Snow Mountain Caribou, so why are we logging less than 1 km away from known occupied habitat?” Pettitt said.
“A paradigm shift is needed to take climate change and species extinction more seriously. We propose that this area be protected, in line with the Valhalla Wilderness Society’s Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal. By enacting this park proposal it will contribute towards fulfilling the promises of the federal and provincial government to protect 30% of the landbase by 2030”.
Last Stand West Kootenay is asking for the public to write letters of support for the protection of the inland temperate rainforest and immediate implementation of all the recommendations from the old growth strategic review that goes beyond deferral areas — both to Premier David Eby, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Nathan Cullen, Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship, to LWRS.Minister@gov.bc.ca.