Plans for Lynch Creek North move ahead
Work has started in Lynch Creek North, where 90 hectares of forests are slated for timber harvesting in the coming months by BC Timber Sales (BCTS). Of those hectares, 64 are near the Gladstone Forest Service Road, which is currently being upgraded to allow logging trucks safe access. The road is scheduled to be decomissioned once the logging is complete.
This news is disappointing to the grassroots organization, Friends and Residents of the North Fork, who have been fighting to prevent logging in the Lynch Creek corridor.
“I’m just flabbergasted,” said Friends and Residents activist and spokesperson Margaret Steele. She is meeting with the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resouce Operations on July 25 and had hoped they would hold off until after the meeting.
In order to get the word out, the group distributed a press release earlier this week, stressing a concern for wildlife — specifically Grizzly bears — in the surrounding parks.
“Maintaining connections is the essence of nature” says Roy Schiesser, Grand Forks naturalist, in the press releae. “Nothing breaks up connectivity like a road.”
While the endangered Grizzly population is a main concern, the group is also worried about the fragmented landscape caused by logging roads.
“Since they started putting in those roads…. it’s just trashed up there,” said Steele.
The Lynch Creek corridor connects Granby and Gladstone Provincial Parks. Without that connection, the parks will become like islands without a safe, sheltered passage for wildlife, she said.
Before work begins in the area, Steele was hoping that they could get some studies done to find out how many Grizzlies are the area. This kind of study would take time and she feels a DNA study is the only options because Grizzly sightings are not necessarily accurate
“How do you know it’s not the same bear you keep seeing,” said Steele.
According to Steele, the provincial government made a committment to develop a recovery strategy for the Kettle-Granby grizzly bears, but the program never came to fruition. She’d like to see this readressed.
However, the BCTS says everything has been properly addressed, including resident’s concerns and the wildlife factors.
“BC Timber Sales has an approved forest stewardship plan for the area. In order for the plan to be approved, BC Timber Sales needed to show how all resource values, including wildlife, would be protected,” said Brennan Clarke, spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, in an email. “BC Timber Sales also needed to show how it considered all public comments received before submitting its plan for approval.”
The local branch of the BCTS did this by taking concerned residents on a tour of the area in June, but that didn’t change their plans – they are still going ahead with the harvesting.
The harvesting will be done in “blocks.”
“The blocks will use a range of silviculture systems from partial cutting to clear-cut with reserves depending on species, forest health issues and other resource considerations,” said Clarke. “All of these blocks will have reserve trees at varying densities as well as wildlife tree patches.”
He also stressed that the plans meet all the necessary local and provincial legistlation.
“All plans and prescriptions meet the requirements of all legislation and the Kootenay Boundary Higher Level Plan Order as well as respecting the areas that have been set aside as grizzly bear habitat and ungulate (deer, moose elk etc.) winter range.”
Despite the BCTS moving forward with their plan, the Friends and Residents of the North Fork continue to make their voices heard. They will approach the minister of July 25 and after that meeting they will decide what their next step is.
Timber sales are not slated until fall, and Steele encourages everyone to email the Minister of Forests Steve Thompson or MLA Linda Larsen, to voice their concerns.
For more information or updates, check out the groups Facebook page “Save Lynch Creek North.”