Saying “no” to logging Upper Clearwater

Canfor proposes to begin logging the lower and especially middle slopes of the Trophy Mountains later this summer

Canfor proposes to begin logging the lower and especially middle slopes of the Trophy Mountains later this summer. Industrial scale logging in the Upper Clearwater Valley north of Spahats flies in the face of a binding agreement signed into effect in 2000 between area residents and the BC Ministry of Forests.

At a recent public meeting, the residents of Upper Clearwater voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm their support for that agreement, and called for a moratorium on industrial scale logging north of Spahats.

There are many other reasons to resist the Canfor plan – viewscape concerns, potential catastrophic floods, disruption of domestic water supply, tourism values, park adjacency, connectivity with Clearwater, impacts on wildlife, impacts on proposed Geopark status, impact on economic diversification, the poor track record of previous high-elevation logging in that area, harm to mountain caribou, and so on. Canfor’s single-use, minimum-legal-obligation approach fails to properly account for any of these factors. It also fails to meet Canfor’s own stated obligations to its social contract.

Don Kayne, Canfor’s president and CEO has recently made some very positive and powerful statements regarding Canfor’s commitments to sustainability. In a 2012 Vancouver Sun article he told reporters, “Canfor will not support actions that overturn landscape objectives set through public planning processes unless there is full public consultation and support. We will not support actions that impact parks or critical habitat for species at risk…”

The WGAC takes the view that there is a serious discrepancy between Canfor Vavenby’s plan and Mr. Kayne’s stated commitments. Amongst other things, Canfor Vavenby is set to overturn landscape objectives described in the Guiding Principles without any meaningful consultations. Also, it puts Wells Gray’s endangered Mountain Caribou at risk by greatly increasing early seral habitat. In the end the plan to log in the Upper Clearwater is not in the best interest of anyone – not even, ultimately, Canfor’s shareholders.

Decisions made in the coming month are likely to resonate in our community for decades to come. Accordingly we add our voice to the call for a moratorium on industrial-scale logging in Upper Clearwater. No further logging should be allowed to proceed until such a time as the full impact of Canfor’s plan has been fully addressed by a wide range of stakeholders.

If you’d like to help the Wells Gray Action Committee work toward a brighter future for the area, please contact the WGAC at ThinkWellsGray@gmx.ca or call 250.674.0270.

Erik Milton represents the Wells Gray Action Committee (WGAC) – a grassroots group formed to oppose plans by Canfor to log in the Upper Clearwater Valley.