Protected grizzly areas closer to approval

The provincial move closer to legislating protected areas for grizzly habitat has a local lobbying and land group very pleased.

A local committee says it is very pleased that the provincial government has set aside protected areas for grizzlies.

After a decade of lobbying, the Kalum Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) Implementation Committee is pleased that the provincial government is closer to making several areas wildlife habitat areas for grizzly bears.

An order to establish these areas is in the draft form and public consultation stage. Its final date to come into effect isn’t known yet, says committee chair and Terrace resident Rob Hart. It means logging won’t be allowed within those areas. These places have a lot of rich foraging opportunities for grizzly bears, says Hart.

“We have been waiting over 10 years to see the field work finished so that we can set aside wildlife habitat areas for grizzly bears and now thanks to the persistence of provincial staff we are there,” he said. Land use plans were put together in the early 1990s by the then-provincial NDP government, taking into consideration lumber companies and  other concerned stakeholders like First Nations, local governments, environmentalist and conservationist groups and the public to name some of those involved.

The Kalum LRMP for the Kalum Forest District came together in 2002. The implementation committee consists of stakeholders and monitors the plans and whether people are continuing to use them. The overall plan is to preserve a healthy population of grizzly bears and the creation of the protected habitat areas goes a long distance towards that goal, says Hart.

A few years ago, a goat and moose winter range was set up near the top of Kalum Lake to support those animals.

Hart says the implementation committee is indebted to the government biologists and thank them profusely for keeping this agenda alive and this objective in sight. “We have an opportunity in the north to do something a lot of other areas don’t: that is to keep our wild ‘wild,’” said Hart.

In other words, stepping back and letting the animals continue to live there, instead of taking over the land for our own uses, he added.

The Kalum Land and Resource Management Plan Implementation Committee holds monthly meetings that regularly have presenters and when members think it’s a topic of public interest, the public can join in.

The committee meeting Feb. 15 is open for the public to hear more about the upcoming government wildlife habitat areas for grizzly bears throughout the Kalum Forest District. It’s being held at 7:30 p.m. at the UNBC campus in room 103.

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