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.”

 

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

Nelson Women’s March joins others across globe

The event was held to promote equality and an end to violence against women

Born 1 pound, 11 ounces, Winlaw premature baby comes home

Indra Greaves was born at the Nelson hospital after just 24 weeks of gestation

Leafs stretch winning streak to 8 games

Nelson downed Grand Forks 5-2 on Friday

RDCK moves ahead with Castlegar rec complex upgrade plan

Board approves grant application for $13 million from provincial, federal governments

Cottonwood Lake preservation group surpasses $50,000 fundraising goal

In 28 days, 393 donors have contributed to the fund

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Most Read