Logging by Splatsin Nation has nature society concerned

Old-growth logging concern

Concerns are being raised about a logging operation in the Slocan Valley that's being done by a local First Nation.

The Splatsin First Nation in Enderby is planning to log a section of old-growth forest, and that has Wayne McCrory and the Valhalla Wilderness Society concerned.

The work will be done by Yucwmenlúcwu (Caretakers of the Land), a cultural and natural resource management company that provides a complete range of environmental, archaeology and forestry services.

Yucwmenlúcwu is operated by the Splatsin nation.

McCrory, who is a professional biologist, claims the area Splatsin is planning to log has been identified by an expert bear biologist as having high biodiversity values, including a black bear den in a 300-400-year-old cedar tree.

“Their company has already opened a winter road to salvage log in the partially burned forest opposite the community of hills in what is known as the Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor,” said a letter from the society.

According to the society, in June, McCrory located an old-growth bear den in a patch of partially burned old-growth. He noted Splatsin had left survey markers for a new road right past the den tree within a large leave strip left by a former logging company to protect a small stream.

The society admitted it is not known if the den had been used since the 2017 fire.

McCrory also found a small wetland in the leave strip used as a wallow and marking site by black and grizzly bears and a likely breeding site for Pacific chorus frogs.

While no one from the Splatsin Nation was available to speak to Castanet, they did issue a statement on the matter:

"The Yucwmenlúcwu forestry team has been working closely with environmental specialists to review reported potential bear habitat concerns with the planned work in the Slocan Valley of BC.

Yucwmenlúcwu has sought a third party professional RPBio review. This third-party review will ensure that all concerns related to recently reported potential habitat features are adequately addressed.

Yucwmenlúcwu continues to work within Splatsin’s mission statement as stewards of the land. Yucwmenlúcwu planning will continue to balance conservation and economic development with natural resource management best practices. Yucwmenlúcwu will continue to manage resources in a sustainable manner for current and future generations."

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