Logging begins on west side of Clearwater River

The move is of significance because some of the residents feel logging the area would negatively impact the viewscape from Upper Clearwater

A new logging block on the west side of the Clearwater River is visible from near the Trophy Mountain Buffalo Ranch in Upper Clearwater.

A new logging block on the west side of the Clearwater River is visible from near the Trophy Mountain Buffalo Ranch in Upper Clearwater.

Canfor and BC Timber Sales (formerly Small Business Program) have begun road-building and/or logging on the west side of the Clearwater River drainage, according to several Upper Clearwater residents.

The move is of significance because some of the residents feel logging the area would negatively impact the viewscape from Upper Clearwater.There already has been a controversy brewing in Upper Clearwater over Canfor’s plans to log in the First, Second and Third Canyons area on the east side of the Clearwater River.

Ursula Johnston, who operates a horseback riding business with her husband in the Upper Clearwater, said she first became aware of the activity about two weeks ago.

She was leading a group of European visitors on horseback in the Whitehorse Bluffs area on the east side of the river.

When they got to the viewpoint she was surprised to hear machinery working and then to see it at work across the river.

“For me, it was really quite shocking, as I was expecting a wilderness experience,” she said. “For some of the Europeans, it was not so bad, as they see (logging in forests) all the time.”

According to Erik Milton of the Wells Gray Action Committee, BC Timber Sales is working directly across from Whitehorse Bluffs and Green Mountain, while Canfor is working further down the valley.

The committee is a group of Upper Clearwater residents who are opposed to Canfor’s logging plans.

“No discussions. No dialogue. No process … even though they are well aware there is controversy brewing,” Milton said.

“Clearwater’s namesake is about to get dirty – one of the most pristine, beautiful, and wild rivers this far south in the world is about to be the victim of all the negative effects we know that industrial-scale logging will bring,” Milton added.

Trevor Goward, who also has been active in opposing Canfor’s logging plans on the east side of the river, has seen signs of the activity on the west side from Edgewood Blue, his home in Upper Clearwater.

“From Edgewood, we can see the lights of the grader working through the night – at least until 1:30 a.m. It would seem that this is being rushed through for some reason. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?” Goward said.

Thompson Rivers Forest District resource manager Rob Schweitzer noted that the area referenced is located outside of the sites covered off in the Guiding Principles for the management of land and resources in the Upper Clearwater Valley document dated November 2000.

 

As of press-time, no reply had been received from Canfor.

Below: Logging on the west side of the Clearwater River (l) is across from Whitehorse Bluffs in Wells Gray Park.

Logging Wh Bluffs