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Cottonwood GoFundMe campaign surpasses $50,000 goal

There's nothing like taking the family for a day of skating during the winter on Cottonwood Lake. — The Nelson Daily file photo

Supporters of a movement to stop clearcut logging near Cottonwood Lake have spoken — with their wallets.

The GoFundMe campaign to provide seed funding for the newly formed Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society reached its goal Thursday, topping the $50,000 mark in 28 days.

“The community support for this campaign has been rapid and very strong,” Andrew McBurney, spokesperson for the society, said in a media release Thursday.

“Meeting our $50,000 crowdfunding goal so quickly sends a clear message: the community deeply cares about Cottonwood Lake and the Apex area.

“We hope to multiply the GoFundMe fund by matching it with grants and government partnerships over the next month.’’

The goal of the Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society is to save two large parcels of private land surrounding Cottonwood Lake and the Apex cross-country ski area from unregulated clearcut logging. Some parcels of land have already come under the chainsaw, leaving scars on the mountainside near the picturesque Cottonwood Regional Park.

The GoFundMe campaign is the first step to showing politicians that the community is serious in its plan.

“The ultimate goal is to get the land into public hands,” McBurney said. “So, we’ll keep accepting donations through GoFundMe and we have several upcoming fundraising events to keep the momentum going.”

The GoFundMe campaign is currently at $50,280 thanks to contributions by more than 395 members of the public.

Now that one goal has been met, the society is turning to the public to join its letter-writing crusade.

“We’ve made telling progress in the last month,” said McBurney. “And now we really need to focus on grants and partnerships with local government.”

“One of the biggest things you can do to help now is write a letter of support to your RDCK directors and your Nelson/Salmo councilors,” McBurney adds. “Tell them why Cottonwood Lake and Apex matter to you, and together we can keep moving this campaign forward to save the land.”

The Society is hosting a letter-writing events at the Nelson Public Library (January 19 and February 9) as well as benefit concerts at Hume Hotel Spirit Bar, January 26th and Bloom Nightclub in the Savoy Hotel February 9th.

In the meantime, the Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society has submitted an expression of interest for the Canada Nature Fund and is pursuing other grant opportunities.

The Society plans to make an appeal for support at the next Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) board meeting with the aim of preserving the land as a regional park.

The highly visible Cottonwood-Apex area 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.

It’s also a popular and well-planned recreational area including a mountain biking and cross-country ski trail network, fishing, hiking, and skating.

For more information on the campaign, how to donate, volunteer or write a letter, go to the Save Cottonwood website.