Logging at-risk caribou habitat in Kootenay old-growth forest must end
VANCOUVER / UNCEDED xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh AND səlilwətaɬ TERRITORIES — Logging activities by Cooper Creek Cedar are jeopardizing old-growth southern mountain caribou habitat at Argenta Face in the West Kootenays, according to mapping data from Wilderness Committee. On the heels of local arrests, the group is calling for an immediate halt to any logging operations.
Mapping shows the area slated to be logged, located between the villages of Argenta and Johnsons Landing in the unceded territory of the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc, Sinixt and Sylix Nations, is identified by the BC government as habitat for the at-risk southern mountain caribou who were found to be using the forest as recently as 2019.
“The Argenta Face is obviously the wrong place to log and we are extremely alarmed that the BC government approved logging plans have gotten this far,” said Wilderness Committee Protected Areas Campaigner Joe Foy. “We’re also deeply concerned about the circumstances of recent arrests.”
The imminent threat of logging operations in the area has already led to 17 arrests, many of which were people simply in the area, not breaking any laws. Public upset with the ill-conceived logging plans continues to grow as company logging equipment was seen moving into the endangered forest under police escort.
One pitifully small area of the forest has been designated by the province as priority old-growth forest for deferral. However, the logging company plans to cut all around it — further fragmenting and degrading this habitat to the point of being useless to caribou.
“The provincial government’s experts identified the most threatened old-growth areas in BC and this government must protect the integrity of those forests,” Foy said. “Leaving tiny pockets of old-growth in a sea of clearcuts where sensitive forest once stood is business as usual, not a paradigm shift.”
Recent findings by environmental organization Wildsight show that Cooper Creek Cedar is in danger of felling trees during the start of migratory bird nesting season. Migratory birds and their nests are protected under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act.
“If this clearcut logging operation were happening on the slopes above Vancouver's North Shore it would have been stopped dead in its tracks due to a tidal wave of public outrage,” said Foy. “So why do the people of Argenta have to put up with this monstrosity of a logging plan looming over their community? Premier Horgan must do the right thing and stop the logging plans now.”
For more information, please contact:
Joe Foy | Protected Areas Campaigner