Conservationists celebrate as B.C. government bans logging in “Donut Hole”
VANCOUVER – The B.C. government banned logging in the space between two provincial parks in the Cascade Range dubbed the “Donut Hole” today. The Wilderness Committee has been calling for the ban for 15 years.
B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman and forest minister Doug Donaldson made the announcement this morning to ban logging in the contentious 5,800-hectare of forests, streams and mountains surrounded by Manning and Skagit provincial parks.
“We believe the Donut Hole and the entire Skagit River watershed warrant protection because of the area’s extremely high environmental and recreation values,” said Protected Areas Campaigner Joe Foy.
“Today’s announcement by Minister Heyman and Minister Donaldson ensures two unlogged valleys in the Donut Hole, Silverdaisy and 26 Mile valleys, will remain unlogged and in a wild state until they can be formally protected which is a wonderful gift to current and future generations.”
Foy warns however that the Donut Hole is not out of the woods yet, “There is still Imperial Metals’ mineral tenure and their application to drill for gold in the Donut Hole.”
As of yet, the Donut Hole has not been designated as protected parkland because of the pre-existing mineral tenure held by Imperial Metals.
The Wilderness Committee along with many environmental, conservation and First Nations groups are calling for Imperials’ tenure and application to be extinguished.
“We want to see the provincial government and the governments of First Nations with interest in the Donut Hole sit down and hammer out an agreement to protect the area from logging and mining,” said Foy.
The Skagit watershed is the focus of an international treaty and oversight by the board of directors of the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission who seek the environmental values of the Skagit watershed protected.
BC Timber Sales, the government agency responsible for auctioning provincial logging permits, started their first logging operation in 2004 and faced intense criticism and protest from the Wilderness Committee and others. All remained quiet in the area until last year when renewed logging in the Donut Hole by BC Timber Sales again caused an outpouring of opposition from many First Nations and environmental organizations.
For more information, please contact:
Joe Foy | Protected Areas Campaigner