This letter is to clarify recent media coverage in regards to the BC Timber Sales (BCTS) proposed harvest development in Glacier Creek.
Here are some key facts related to the BC Timber Sales development:
1. The Glacier Creek drainage has been an operating area for BCTS (formerly Small Business Enterprise Program) since the mid-1980s. BCTS has maintained an active harvesting presence in the drainage through to 2001. There is more than $5 million in infrastructure investments in the drainage. The cost of annual maintenance, repair or bridge replacements can range from $20,000 to $200,000.
2. Recreation values were recognized early in the development of the Glacier Creek Forest Service Road. BCTS supported the designation of all trails, such as MacBeth, Jumbo Pass and Monica Meadows. The current parking areas for MacBeth and Monica Meadows are actually former landing sites for harvested cutblocks.
3. The current BCTS harvest proposal is located in the front end of Glacier Creek, in the Birnam Creek area, just west of the MacBeth Trail. A series of blocks are proposed to be harvested over a period of 10 to 15 years. The proposal is NOT on the MacBeth icefield, nor are there current plans to be near the Jumbo Pass or Monica Meadows trails.
4. The total area of the development proposal composes less than two percent of the drainage area, and, in large part, will not be visible from the main travel corridor.
5. The Glacier Creek Forest Service Road IS in need of some repairs and improvements in order that it safely facilitate both industrial haul and recreation traffic. A full evaluation of the road will be conducted in the spring of 2016; necessary measures will be implemented and timing strategies for industrial use considered. BCTS manages many access roads for both public and industrial traffic; the Glacier Creek FSR is not exceptional in terms of its challenging circumstances.
6. BCTS will continue to support recreation in this drainage; BCTS has ongoing communications with the local rec sites and trails resource officer to ensure that our plans are compatible with recreation objectives in the area. Wherever possible, our respective departments cooperate to ensure that the recreation experience is not compromised during the time of our operations.
7. BCTS is committed to undertaking professional assessments for all values during the course of the development — these include consideration for soil, terrain, wildlife, hydrology, species at risk, and others. Operational logistics and safety are also evaluated as key aspects of the final development plan proposal.
8. In terms of the concern for “cumulative impacts,” professionals who conduct the site assessments are obliged to take into consideration the current state of the drainage (i.e. all historic development) and then propose measures for implementation in the context of the new proposal. If, in the future, additional land use tenures are proposed, those applications will also need to consider the totality of development impact — including that of the current BCTS proposal. At that time, BCTS will be sure to contribute all information that would assist in ensuring that a comprehensive evaluation of cumulative impact could be completed.
9. In terms of climate change concerns, BCTS assessments for drainage and hydrology are already adapted to accommodate for this; BCTS stocking standards for new forest seedlings have also changed to reflect this climate transition.
10. While there have been some objections, this proposal has also garnered much support. Many persons from local communities, such as Kaslo and Meadow Creek, have contacted us to express their appreciation for the employment opportunities, considering recent mill closures in the area. We have been contacted by recreationists who realize that the costs associated with maintaining road access to the spectacular views of Glacier Creek cannot be supported by the hiking and skiing public alone. From a BCTS business standpoint, the significant investment in road infrastructure in this valley is to be amortized over the long term including the revenues from this proposal. All citizens of BC benefit from the positive revenues generated by BC Timber Sales.
High value recreation has co-existed with the forest industry in the Glacier Creek drainage for many years. My staff and I are committed to continuing this legacy as we move forward with this development in a thoughtful and considerate way.
If you have concerns or questions regarding this or other development, please contact:
Della.firstname.lastname@example.org or Sean.email@example.com
Della Peterson, Woodlands Supervisor, BCTS, Kootenay Lake Field Team