Province is protecting grizzly bears

Re: “Forests Ministry pushing grizzlies to extinction,” comment, Sept. 25.

The article misinterprets the efforts of my ministry — and the excellent work by B.C. Timber Sales that ensures logging in the lower Lynch Creek near Grand Forks is environmentally sustainable.

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Under the Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan, the area around Lynch Creek is designated as being available for logging.

Preserving grizzly bears is a priority for the B.C. government — and provincewide the population is estimated to be 15,000. In the Kootenay-Boundary region, Granby and Gladstone provincial parks together preserve approximately 80,000 hectares of prime grizzly habitat. Motor-vehicle closures were also imposed in areas around Granby Provincial Park to further protect grizzly bears. And another 1,972 hectares is designated as wildlife habitat areas. As well, there is no hunting of grizzlies in the Kettle-Granby population.

While some individuals believe there should be no logging under any circumstances, I need to stress that forest-development plans are not created in a vacuum. There are specific legal requirements and conditions that must be met before any logging activity commences, including addressing public concerns and protecting wildlife habitat.

The province’s position is clear. We make all forestry decisions with sustainability in mind, but logging is an important part of B.C.’s economy. If it can be accomplished in a responsible manner that sustains local wildlife populations, as is the case with BCTS’s plans for Lynch Creek, then we will allow it.

Steve Thomson

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

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