Seven Sisters environmental group tries to protect area beside provincial park

The group acknowledges it faces an uphill battle in protecting area outside of park from logging.

Kyley Rumohr photo

Local environmental group Friends of Seven Sisters hopes to stop planned logging adjacent to Seven Sisters Provincial Park.

Established 18 years ago, the park, named after the Seven Sisters mountain range, is a 39,000-hectare wilderness park and protected area about 50 kilometres north of Terrace.

Six logging cut blocks have been mapped out near the Seven Sisters Park, including two adjacent to the park boundary that total about 50 hectares.

Rod Major, spokesperson for Friends of Seven Sisters, said the group is concerned the proposed logging will not only negatively affect the scenic value of the park but mushroom picking areas, the Coyote Creek watershed and access to the park as well.

CanWel Building Material Group Ltd., a Vancouver-based logging and trucking company, owns the timber cutting rights for the area and is seeking permits to log from the provincial government.

CanWel did not respond to a request for comment.

“I feel these big companies like CanWel are exploiting the Northwest for lumber,” said Major. “I call them slash and dash loggers — they come in, do their thing and they’re gone. They give nothing back to the communities that they’re in.”

The group will discuss their concerns with Forests Minister and Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson on Jan. 9.

“We’re just hoping the minister, since he’s from this area, will be kind enough to listen to us,” said Major. “Our particular platform jives with the NDP platform and the green platform so hoping we’re that the minister will see where we’re coming from.”

Friends of Seven Sisters hopes the government will implement the B.C. Forest Practices Board’s recent recommendations. The board is an independent government organization that advocates for sustainable forest and range practices in British Columbia.

One of the board recommendations was to give district managers the authority to intervene when proposed activities put local environmental and community values at risk. Currently, district managers must issue cutting and road permits if they meet basic requirements under the Forest and Range Practices Act.

Another recommendation was that the government should enable public consultation on forest roads and cut blocks.

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