Wildsight Urging Petitions to Improve Private Land Logging Regulations in Elk Valley

(Credit: Wildsight)

The group believes a lot needs to change to protect the environment after recent logging events in and near Fernie.

Wildsight hosted around 175 residents of the Elk Valley late last week to talk about the issue of logging on private land.

The problem, explains Conservation Coordinator Eddie Petryshen, is that approximately 32% of all land in the region is privately-owned, and with Canwel controlling a significant chunk of that, he says the forestry company owns one-eighth of land in the Elk Valley.

Petryshen says the levels of regulations regarding logging on private land and the amount of clear cuts they have been doing on their property is unacceptable.

"There was a lot of valid, local concerns from residents who, you know, are worried about downstream impacts of all this logging and flooding concerns and all of those things that are very valid from the scale of harvesting we're seeing."

He adds that the effects of land degradation does not discriminate based on whether it is owned by the government or a private entity, so firm action should be taken to ensure the protection of all who live in the area.

At the same time, Petryshen credits Canwel for not only attending the meeting but for actively engaging with those in attendance.

He believes that common ground can be found between all sides, but it will likely take the support of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development to see things get to where he feels they should be.

That is why Wildsight is urging everyone in the Elk Valley to write to the provincial government, particularly Minister Doug Donaldson, for change.

"Bring those [private land logging] regulations, at minimum, in line with those on Crown Land, including having requirements for sustainable harvests so these forests aren't managed for short-term wood liquidation - they're managed for the long term. That has both local economic and environmental protections."

Specifically, what Wildsight is looking for are regulations around sustainable harvests, the protection of wildlife habitats, water protection, protection of view scapes, and community input.

More information from Wildsight on this topic, including government contacts, can be found here.

Audio: Eddie Petryshen, Conservation Coordinator, Wildsight

Audio: Eddie Petryshen, Conservation Coordinator, Wildsight

More from East Kootenay News