Deadline for input on proposed logging in Brown Creek area this week
Brown Creek residents have until Friday, Jan. 11 to provide BC Timber Sales (BCTS) with their input about logging proposed for the Lynch Creek area.
BCTS had a meeting with the community in May 2012 where residents expressed their concerns and had an opportunity to view detailed maps of the proposed cut blocks slated to hit the timber auctions and be logged between now and 2014.
The seven blocks of approximately 37,000 cubic meters of timber to be harvested are in the Lynch Creek area, a zone that connects both the Granby and Gladstone Provincial Parks.
And that’s where the concern comes in – residents are afraid logging activity in that region will threaten the natural wildlife corridor that exists between those parks. They are concerned that with more logging activity comes more roads and easier access for hunters and recreational users into previously inaccessible wildlife habitat. The safety of the watershed, the increased logging truck activity and the small trail systems contained within the zone are also points of concern.
Brown Creek resident Roy Schiesser says this issue around logging at Lynch Creek is really about a much bigger concern – the government policies that govern what the BC Timber Sales must do.
“They (BCTS) do what they are required to do but what is required is not enough to protect the environment or the wildlife,” said Schiesser.
Margaret Steele, another Brown Creek resident, agrees, especially in light of previous logging activity.
“Current maps showing logging activity clearly indicate logging roads have already opened up motorized access to the Granby Provincial Park,” writes Steele in her letter to BCTS. “In effect, the park has become an island surrounded by logging activity and road access from every direction. There is grave concern that a similar situation may develop around the Gladstone Provincial Park if the unroaded area to the south of the Park were to be opened up. This concern was clearly expressed to BCTS staff at a meeting held at Brown Creek Community Hall in May 2012 and attended by over 20 residents of the North Fork. Residents and wildlife biologists are deeply concerned about the impact of logging and subsequent motorized access on wildlife populations including the endangered mountain goat and blue-listed Granby Grizzly Bear.”
Resident Kristina Hockley has a lot of concerns about the logging truck activity, both future and present, happening along the narrow rural roads of Brown Creek and North Fork Road. She would like to see more responsible logging practices happening across the province.
“Wood has to come from somewhere, I just wish they were being more responsible about how it’s harvested and decommission the roads and replant it,” said Hockley.
Residents don’t have a lot of confidence in the input process being administered by BC Timber Sales.
Hockley, who has been an activist most of her life and has written many letters of concern to governments, feels it often falls on deaf ears.
“I think it’s just a token,” said Hockley of the public inclusion process done by BCTS. “I’m going to do what I can because I want to do something … It feels like a waste of my time, but I’m still going to do it just in case.”
Steele is hopeful that what she has to say may help start change.
“I’m hoping that what will happen is that there will be enough community responses that the BCTS will hold a public meeting. I hope for a discussion where we can raise those concerns and BC Timber Sales can respond to those concerns we are raising,” said Steele.
“They have to be able to satisfy us that there is not going to be a negative impact on the wildlife and the environment,” said Schiesser, adding he doesn’t expect that under current government requirements that BCTS will be able to satisfy residents.
“It will be interesting to see how they respond to that.”
He said a buffer zone along roads and critical habitat is just not enough in the long run and that he feels BCTS is “not getting proper biological assessments of those areas”.
Roads to the seven blocks along Lynch Creek area were set to be constructed this summer. The road along the north side of Lynch Creek was to be upgraded by this fall, said George Edney, BCTS planning supervisor out of Nelson during an earlier interview with The Boundary Sentinel in May 2012.
Included on the list of areas also being considered for logging is Hornet Creek, which includes four cut blocks under review, some road construction and will be visible throughout the area because it includes Hornet Mountain. Miller Creek will be looked at this year to see the possibilities, said Edney. These sights are still several years away from having the timber auctioned.
Ingrid Russell, a BCTS staff member out of Nelson, is receiving the letters. She was unavailable for comment about what happens with the letters BCTS receives and how those concerns may be addressed.
To see the open letter to the residents of Brown Creek visit the Friends and Residents of the North Fork blog at http://frnf.blogspot.com/2012/12/bcts-letter-to-resident-of-brown-creek.html