Deb MacKillop of the Nelson Cycling Club explained the groups’s trail-building plans for the area. She said the club wants to work with the landowner to complete its trail from Morning Mountain to Cottonwood Lake. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Scientists and community groups support Cottonwood Lake preservation

Presentations to public meeting focused on ecological and recreational values

A handful of scientists and community groups are concerned about private logging around Cottonwood Lake and the Apex Ski area.

Michael Proctor, biologist and grizzly bear expert, told a public meeting in December that the Cottonwood Lake area is a natural corridor for grizzlies to pass from one mountain range to the next.

“As the countryside gets more populated, bear biologists try to find corridors where bears can travel across settled valleys,” Proctor said. “They like to do this at wetland areas. Cottonwood is a grizzly corridor, the only place between Nelson and Salmo.”

Local resident Pierre Kaufman said he lives near Cottonwood Lake and this is the first year there have been no grizzlies in the area. He speculated that it was because of the logging activity.

Richard Green of the Nelson Rod and Gun Club talked about the group’s annual Father’s Day event, called Fishing Forever.

The club provides fishing gear, lunch and a boat to children and those who are too elderly or disabled to go fishing themselves.

He said it’s an important part of the identity of Cottonwood Lake.

“Usually we have about 300 people from all over,” Green said. “I like to fish. But I like Fishing Forever better. And I want the lake to stay pretty.”

The purpose of the meeting, organized by local resident Andrew McBurney, was to inform the public about the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s ongoing negotiations with landowner Nelson Land Corporation to potentially buy the land and add it to Cottonwood Lake Park.

Speakers at the meeting also promoted the formation of a non-profit group to fund raise at the local and national levels to purchase the land (see related story on Page 2).

Related:

• Meeting hears appeal for community group to buy Cottonwood Lake land

• The logging plan no one wants to talk about

• RDCK negotiating with logging company about Cottonwood Lake forest

• Unregulated private land logging continues near Nelson at Cottonwood Lake

• Logging planned for Cottonwood Lake and Apex areas

• RDCK wants province to regulate private land logging

• Salmo area mulls rules for private land logging

Doris Hausleitner, who teaches wildlife biology at Selkirk College, talked about the wetlands at Cottonwood Lake.

“Wetlands are nature’s kidneys and liver,” she told the audience. “They filter and decontaminate water. They absorb water and release it slowly. They provide protection from flooding. They are like a big sponge.”

She said wetlands allow aquifers to replenish in times of drought, mitigate the impact of climate change by storing carbon, and have unique assemblages plants and animals.

Marc Deschenes is a geotechnical specialist and an avalanche safety instructor.

He explained that cutting the north-facing slopes will make the area avalanche prone, creating a risk for the recreation area, highways, creeks, water quality and fish-bearing streams.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., in a letter to local municipal governments read aloud by McBurney, said every year the society stocks Cottonwood Lake with 2,000 rainbow trout.

The letter supported the RDCK’s attempt to purchase the land around the lake and add it to Cottonwood Lake Park.

“The Cottonwood Lake fishery has some attributes that are not common,” the letter stated. “The lake is close to town, it is stocked with catchable-size trout, it has a fishing dock, and it is managed as a family-sized fishery with an electric motor-only boating restriction.

“Lakes with these features are rather unique and they are critical to the society’s objective to introduce children and families to sport fishing.”

Kim Green, a Selkirk College instructor, researches the effects of logging on surface water flows.

She said logging means more snow on the ground with less shade, resulting in an increased rate of snow melt. This in turn results in increased slope runoff and changes in the flow and timing of runoff.

Green said snow melt could happen several weeks earlier if the logging goes ahead, creating elevated flows into the wetland, higher lake levels, and more water coming out of Cottonwood Lake earlier than usual.

“The stream channel could likely see increases in flow, some scouring in the channel, higher floods through there, which is not a good thing,” Green said.

“All that extra snow will create a much wetter situation over there [on the north-facing slope] so you can have erosion, landslides… and decreased stability of those slopes.”

Jason Rusu of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club expressed concern about clearcutting on the steep slope above one section of the Apex trail. He said this could be an avalanche hazard and might shorten the ski season.

Deb MacKillop of the Nelson Cycling Club told the crowd that the club has reached out to Nelson Land Corporation requesting permission to build the final leg of a trail through the forest above the lake because it wants to connects its trails at Morning Mountain to Cottonwood Lake.

She said the club hopes to build that section of the trail next summer.

“Once cyclists get to the lake,” she said, “you can come back to Nelson or go to Salmo-Ymir. It links all the network from Blewett to Rails to Trails.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

All of the land indicated as private land is slated to be logged. Photo: RDCK website

An aerial view of the northwest end of Cottonwood Lake and the existing clearcut which could be expanded all the way down the lakeshore on left. Photo: Adrian Wagner

Wildlife biologist Doris Hausleitner. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Just Posted

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Structures not threatened by wildfires burning in the Arrow and Kootenay Lakes region

Official says more lightning-caused fires could occur in region over next 36 hours

Harrop-Procter Co-op restores Mill Lake trail

A shelter destroyed by wildfire in 2017 will also be rebuilt

West Kootenay region experiences drier-than-normal July: Report

The region only received around 57% of its normal precipitation during the month

No new COVID cases in Kootenay-Boundary

As of July 30, there were no additional cases in the previous two weeks

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Most Read