Editor, The Times:
I’m writing this letter to express my concern over the proposed logging of the Clearwater River corridor by Canfor. I am the owner of Interior Whitewater and, hard to believe, but we are going into our 33rd season of rafting on the Clearwater River.
First off, I’m not against logging. Anybody who has lived in this town for any length of time knows that logging has been at the forefront of Clearwater’s economy for a very long time and has contributed hugely to the economic growth of Clearwater. I have many friends in that industry and by no means would I like to see it disappear in this area or for that matter this province.
We can talk about the value of Wells Gray Park becoming a World Heritage Site or Geopark with UNESCO. Or that tourism this year may contribute as much as $20 million to the local economy with over half a million visitors this year. These facts can be obtained from the District of Clearwater office and I think most people agree now that tourism will probably provide a wide range of benefits for Clearwater and Wells Gray Park in the future. Will this be enough to keep this town healthy and prosperous? Probably not. Logging and other industries will be needed.
But really what I want to talk about is how logging may be affecting the Clearwater River and the valley now and in the future. I do not want to make myself sound like an expert in the subject of fallout from poor logging practices because I’m not. But what I am good at is being able to tell the story of the River Road and what I’ve seen along both sides of the river during that time. We are seeing creeks run where they’ve never run before. Small creeks in the past are turning into large creeks that flash and wash culverts out constantly.
Water events are happening on the west side of the Clearwater these days at an alarming rate that we’ve never seen before. Is it the logging that has taken place in the Tree Farm License over the last few years? I don’t have an answer to that but it makes one think.
And that brings me to my point. I believe we need to think the Canfor deal through a little more and take a good look at the short term benefits we are trading for the potential long term ugly things that may happen because of the result of the proposed logging. The importance of our viewscapes along the Clearwater River corridor are going to be what separates us from so many other areas competing for the tourist dollar in the future and tourism is going to be here long after the blocks have been logged and Canfor has packed up and left.
Sometimes when you have something magical in your backyard you tend to take it for granted. But what I know for sure is that the Clearwater River is an absolute gem in this province. I describe the Clearwater as the last big volume, free-flowing river of its kind that eventually empties into the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of North America. If there is a river that rivals the Clearwater in water purity and visibility, wilderness feel, world class rafting and kayaking, or just plain beautiful viewscapes and site seeing, I’d like to know where.
I support the moratorium on the logging with Canfor in the Clearwater Valley. With so much at stake in the future for this town, the valley, and most importantly the Clearwater River, I strongly believe more discussion is needed with all stakeholders in an open and transparent public process.