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Letter: Majority of Cottonwood Lake, Apex Land Still Threatened by Clearcut Logging

To The Editor:

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) announced (Thursday) that they have purchased some of the private land surrounding Cottonwood Lake. The 21.6 hectare section of land will be added to Cottonwood Lake Regional Park and preserved from logging.

We’re grateful that the RDCK, with the help of the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), has made this first purchase of land. We’d like to thank the many people who made donations and wrote letters to show our political leaders how valuable this forest is to the community. We appreciate that the RDCK directors and dedicated Parks staff have worked very hard to make this happen.

Despite the expansion of Cottonwood Lake Regional Park, the society is concerned about the remaining private land above Cottonwood Lake still under threat.

The Cottonwood Lake area has essentially been subdivided and the RDCK and CBT have purchased land on the west shore of the lake, the entrance to the park and alongside the Great Northern Rail Trail. So the larger portion of land (67%) above Cottonwood Lake is still privately owned and very much under threat. There is no zoning for this area and private land logging is still unregulated. When we began this initiative, our community-backed goal was to preserve all of the land around the lake, as well as the beautiful forests above Apex.

We'll take the good news of Thursday's announcement and keep looking for ways to save the remaining land. This entire corridor is simply too valuable to give up on. From threatened grizzly bears, sensitive wetlands, risks of flooding and the blemish on our reputation as an uncommonly beautiful place- the reasons for continuing are infinite.

The society has raised over $50,000 on GoFundMe and increased their fundraising goal to $150,000 last month. They are still actively fundraising with the intention to preserve more land in the following months.

The CLPS is holding a second public meeting at the Rod & Gun Club on Wednesday, April 3rd from 6-8 pm, to hear community feedback on the RDCK’s purchase and discuss how the society can best use its funds to secure more land. Representatives from both the CLPS and the RDCK will provide an update and answer questions. Maps of the area in question will be provided.

We need to come together again, like we did on that cold night in December and decide on our vision for the Apex-Cottonwood area.

Do we want to see it chopped up into clearcuts, or do we want to preserve it as an important centre for generations to come?

In addition to the public meeting, the society is also holding a live music fundraiser at the Capitol Theatre Tuesday, April 2nd. More details can be found at savecottonwood.com

Andrew McBurney, Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society (CLPS)

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