Canfor needs to engage the public in discussion on Upper Clearwater

Clearwater is at a turning point – the decisions we make now will resonate in our community for decades

Editor, The Times:

Re: Canfor’s plans to log in the Upper Clearwater Valley – the southern corridor into Wells Gray Park.

Clearwater is at a turning point – the decisions we make now will resonate in our community for decades to come.

Does Clearwater want to continue to evolve as the ‘Gateway to Wells Gray’ and to strengthen that connection? Or, do we want to see Clearwater’s direct physical and experiential connection to the park diminished? That Canfor’s plan to begin logging the Clearwater Valley later this year will weaken Clearwater’s link to Wells Gray and negatively impact the entrance corridor to one of Canada’s premier wilderness parks is self-evident.

There are a broad range of issues that need to be addressed and questions that have to be asked. Here are three of them.

1. How do we nurture a diverse economic future for Clearwater that includes wilderness and tourism as well as forestry and mining?

By protecting Clearwater’s connection to wilderness – Wells Gray Park and the southern entrance corridor. Resource extraction can of course continue to function in the rest of the vast areas surrounding Clearwater – but we need to protect Wells Gray and the corridor into it if we wish to maintain our status as the ‘Gateway.’

2. If the decision to log in the entrance corridor to Wells Gray Park is not worth a public discussion, then what is Wells Gray worth to us?

This IS worth a public discussion! To proceed with this plan accounting for only the narrow interests of a single user group would be a failure of public process and democratic values. It needs a broadly based discussion that includes the interests – social, economic, and environmental – of everybody, including Wells Gray’s endangered mountain caribou.

3. What are Canfor’s moral and ethical obligations to this process as a corporate citizen of our community?

At the very least it is clear from the wide range of values at stake here that Canfor needs to engage the public in this process. A failure to do so necessarily raises some serious questions about Canfor’s sense of responsibility and how it perceives itself within the context of Canadian society.

We wait for Canfor to do the right thing – initiate an open public input process to facilitate and encourage the best use possible for the entrance corridor to Wells Gray Park.

We also call upon the B.C. government to establish a moratorium on industrial logging north of Spahats Creek until such time as a wide-ranging conversation has been satisfactorily resolved.

For more information contact the Wells Gray Action Committee at ThinkWellsGray@gmx.ca

Erik Milton

Wells Gray Action Committee