Keep Wells Gray Park as is

It would be shortsighted, perhaps even irresponsible to encourage industrial logging in the Upper Clearwater Valley at this time

Editor, The Times:

Clearwater is the Gateway to Wells Gray. Adventure begins here. It’s The Best Place to Live, Work and Play. The economy here is no longer exclusively reliant on corporate forestry revenue.

Go to the District of Clearwater website and you’ll have a hard time finding much information on forestry at all. Instead it is a cornucopia of information for people wanting to come here to holiday, to live, work and recreate, and to establish small businesses (many associated with the tourism sector).

The area is indelibly linked to Wells Gray Park and associated values. Tourism is now worth millions of dollars to the local economy. This whole neck of the woods is a celebration of wilderness, outdoor recreation, hunting, skiing, lakes you can drink out of, and the foresight that our forefathers had in setting aside Wells Gray Park for all to enjoy. I raise my glass to them!

Head up to Wells Gray Park – as the road winds its way up the beautiful Clearwater Valley it traverses a diversity of landscapes and ecologies. Landscapes defined by forests, rushing creeks, lava escarpments, and the Clearwater River. “Wells Gray Park” the sign announces on the Spahats plateau. Learn something about the new research centre TRU is building, the possibility of World Heritage Status. Join one of the programs this fall. Take a guided backpacking trip or go canoeing. Raft the Clearwater River. Go for a hike. Smell the flowers.

Canfor wants to log in the Upper Clearwater Valley. There are many good reasons why Canfor should not be logging in this valley that have been addressed elsewhere. The need for industrial logging to permeate into every nook and cranny of our province, regardless of negative impacts and/or surrounding values is an unambiguous indicator of mismanagement and an industry in demise. We’re better off leaving it intact. Certainly it would reflect poorly on Clearwater, “the entrance way to the world renown Wells Gray Provincial Park,” as Mayor Harwood calls it, if it endorsed clear-cutting the Gateway. We should be seeking UNESCO status, a designation more in line with the present visions of the Clearwater/Wells Gray area and one that would contribute to sustainable, long-term prosperity in the region.

It would be shortsighted, perhaps even irresponsible to encourage industrial logging in the Upper Clearwater Valley at this time. It is incongruous with the areas present vision of itself and there are simply too many other values at stake here. There needs to be a moratorium on logging in the area until all parties have had their say.

Erik Milton

Upper Clearwater, B.C.