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Forest Index


Fast Forward Weekly

Forest freak-out

Thursday June 14, 2007

By Adrian Morrow

Kananaskis residents raise uproar over local clear cutting plan A plan to log the Kananaskis Country could irreparably damage the forest, hurt the local tourism industry and lower the quality of Calgary’s water, according to area residents.

Read the article


War of woods

Thursday, April 26, 2007
Kananaskis residents protest area logging
Hikers, bikers, back-country campers and trail riders will be in for a surreal sight this summer as they discover hundreds of randomly placed tree tags bearing the message "Save Kananaskis – it’s worth it."

Read more . . .


Liberals call for creation of new protected areas

Thursday, August 31, 2006

by Amy Steele

The Alberta Liberals say the creation of a new provincial park that
will protect land along the Bow River is a great step, but they are
urging the government to go farther and preserve more sensitive
landscapes in southern Alberta.

On August 23, the provincial government announced the creation of
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, that will protect 3,426 acres of land
along the Bow River between Calgary and Cochrane. The land was
formerly a ranch owned by the Harvie family. It was valued at $80
million, but the family sold it to the government for $40 million in
order to honour the late Neil Harvie’s wish that the land be
protected from future development. The park won’t be open to the
public for another year.

Calgary MLA Harry Chase says he’s "thrilled" about the new park, but
says he’d also like to see the provincial government create a new
park near Bragg Creek, called Moose Mountain Wildland Park, to
protect the Elbow River watershed from logging and other industrial
development. Chase would also like to see a park in the Castle
Wilderness area of southern Alberta, which is adjacent to Waterton
National Park. Environmentalists have been fighting for decades to
get more protection for the Castle region. After renowned Alberta
writer and conservationist Andy Russell died there was a push to have
a park in the area named after him.


Thursday, June 8, 2006

by Amy Steele

Group opposes logging in West Bragg Creek

Poposed clearcutting in recreation area renews calls to protect K-Country

The Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition (BCEC) is fighting a proposed logging plan that would see clearcutting in a popular recreation area of Kananaskis Country near Bragg Creek.

"West Bragg Creek is phenomenally popular with hikers and mountain bikers and runners and skiers and snowshoers," says BCEC president Ralph Cartar. "It’s really obscene because they’re really taking a resource that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy and they’re liquidating it for a handful of jobs in Cochrane."

Spray Lake Sawmills has had a forest management agreement with the province since 2001, which gives the company logging rights for a 2,800-square-kilometre area of the southeastern slopes of the Rockies, including near Bragg Creek. The company has just released its logging plans for the area, which would include logging around popular hiking and cross country ski trails in West Bragg Creek such as Telephone Loop and Moose Loop. Cartar says people would also be able to see logging cutblocks while hiking up the popular Moose Mountain fire look-out trail. The public has until June 23 to submit feedback on the plans to the provincial government.

Cartar says the province never should have handed out logging rights to the company and should have, instead, protected all of Kananaskis Country from industrial use.

Currently, some parts of Kananaskis Country are protected as provincial parks or wildland parks, but other chunks are deemed multi-use, which means forestry, oil and gas and agricultural uses are allowed.

"They tend to view each user as a legitimate one with equal value here, but the logging use is by far the biggest impact because it’s the one that transforms the landscape in the largest way," says Cartar.

He says the provincial government should have shown more vision, instead of turning Kananaskis Country into one big "tree farm."

But he’s also opposed to oil and gas and agricultural activity in Kananaskis Country.

"I’d like to see all of these industrial users out and make it a park," he says. "We’ve got a city of a million people and this is the closest forest to that million people. Why remove that forest for forestry purposes? It has far more value for recreation. Why do we take these incredibly valuable resources, valuable to many, many people, and liquidate them for a few board feet of lumber?

"It boggles my mind and I think at some point the local people have to stand up and say, ‘this is an inappropriate use of our public resource.’"

Ed Kulcsar, forestry manager with Spray Lake Sawmills, says the company uses sustainable forestry practices and adds that logging in the area helps prevent future forest fires as well as mountain pine beetle infestations. However, Cartar argues that clearcut logging shouldn’t be considered the only solution to combat the two problems.

Kulcsar says the company will take into account existing trails. "There’s different things we can do in terms of keeping that trail available," he says.

He adds that there’s been forestry activity going on in Kananaskis Country for decades and "people still think those are good areas to go and recreate in despite the multiple uses that are going on," which he says proves the multiple-use strategy is working.

This news article is the property of Fast Forward Weekly


Moose Mountain Wildland Park proposed

About 350 people came to the Bragg Creek Community Centre on June 15 to hear a proposal from the Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition (BCEC) for a new protected area in West Bragg Creek to deflect plans for clearcut logging.

To read the full story click here for the Fast Forward web site

National Post

June 22, 2007

" . . . these pristine trails, just an hour from the city core, have lately become campaign trails for activists. Every mile or so, environmental politics intrude on serenity in the form of signs, nailed to tree trunks. "Save Kananaskis: it's worth it," are the words stenciled on -- of all things -- sawn discs of log."

Despite a bias to corporate interests, this aticle is the first time our concerns have been covered in the major media.

Read the article

The Walrus Magazine

June 5, 2007

Letters to the editor


Patrick White's "Red Rush" (April) offers an excellent example of one more nail in Canada's resource-management coffin. By ignoring ecosystem science and asserting short-sighted, narrowminded, and self-serving political agendas, Canadian policy-makers have overseen the destruction of one of the world's largest fisheries (the northwest Atlantic cod) and are in the process of rapidly depleting the world's second largest oil reserve while contributing to the climate-related destruction of our forests. By failing to protect our natural assets, they are also destroying the community livelihoods so dependent on these riches. Quite a feat, when you think about it.
From what I understand, the BC government is set to replant the forest with more pine-beetle food, and the federal government is helping keep temperatures nice and warm so the rest of our forests can die. This, alongside talk of processing the infested wood and piping it to the tar sands, where it can be used to fuel more oil extraction. Perhaps, in some warped way, this is what they mean by sustainability.
Bruce Lourie
President, Ivey Foundation
Toronto, Ontario

In Alberta, we also have a lot of aging, vulnerable pine forest, and it's now being hit by the mountain pine beetle. Learning from the BC experience, loggers here are colluding with the government to go the same route, ramping up the cutting and going into forests that have been off limits up to now. Our minister of "sustainable development" was on the radio recently, defending plans to let a favourite company clearcut around Bragg Creek, despite the vocal objections of residents, on the grounds that doing so might stop the beetle. It won't, of course.
As I say on page 455 of my Handbook of the Canadian Rockies,
"Something is going to destroy the unnaturally old pine stands of the Canadian Rockies, be it fire or disease.... How strange: little insects that selectively and neatly kill only certain tree species, opening up the woods naturally, without removing nutrients or dam- aging the soil, are used as an excuse by humans to wreck an entire ecosystem."
That was originally written in 1985.
Ben Gadd
Jasper, Alberta

Now Public

Creekers Fight Alberta Government to Stop Cle...

May 13, 2007
A large crowd gathered outside the Bragg Creek community hall Saturday (May 12,2007) to kick off the Tag A Tree program in a desperate attempt to stop the clear-cutting of eastern Kananaskis.


Tag A Tree program is desperate attempt by Al...

April 18, 2007
Ted Morton, Alberta Minister of Sustainable Development, has turned a deaf ear to pleas from thousands of Alberta residents to stop clear-cutting forests.  He says the Forestry Management Agreement with...


Globe and Mail

POSTED ON 20/03/07 in the Globe and Mail

Pine-beetle infestation, logging create flood threat

Removal of infected trees will leave area vulnerable, Forest Practices Board warns

VANCOUVER -- The mountain pine-beetle infestation that has swept across British Columbia's Interior, leaving more than eight million hectares of forest dead or dying, is creating a growing flood threat throughout the Fraser River watershed.
And a massive salvage logging operation that is now under way -- in an attempt to harvest the insect-killed trees while they still have commercial value -- is exacerbating the situation, warned the Forest Practices Board in a report released yesterday.

Steve Chatwin, manager of special projects for the Forest Practices Board, a government advisory body, said that a sophisticated computer model, being used for the first time, was able to project stream-flow conditions following a pine-beetle infestation, as well as after the insect-killed wood had been harvested.

Under each scenario, the size and frequency of floods jumped dramatically over baseline data.

"Floods will be bigger [and] . . . a former 20-year flood will become a three-year flood," Mr. Chatwin said.
Studying the Baker Creek watershed, near Quesnel, the Forest Practices Board determined that peak flow in the stream would be 61-per-cent higher after the forest in the watershed had been killed by pine beetles.

When the computer model was adjusted to indicate what would happen once the insect-killed forest was logged in a salvage operation, the peak flow jumped even more, to become 92 per cent higher.

Under each scenario, the peak high-water mark advanced, occurring about 15 days earlier than normal, as the snow pack melted sooner and faster once the forest cover had died off or had been removed by logging.

"The results indicate the peak flow changes following MPB attack may be dramatic," the report states. "A forest management dilemma is that any salvage harvesting of attacked trees will lead to even higher peak flow changes. Not harvesting leaves the stands vulnerable to fire, which would have a similar hydrological impact as harvesting. . . . "

Mr. Chatwin said the Forest Practices Board is recommending that watershed-by-watershed hydrological assessments be done throughout the pine-beetle-infested forest to minimize the damage from logging.

Under the provincial Liberal government, the practice of requiring hydrological assessments in all watersheds was dropped.

Mr. Chatwin said it would cost an estimated $30,000 to do a hydrological assessment on a typical watershed, and he suggested that, given the damage that could result from floods, that would be money well spent.

Bruce Fraser, chair of the Forest Practices Board, said "it is like flying blind" to log beetle-killed forests without first assessing the hydrological impact.

And Mr. Fraser said the study obviously raises concerns about what might happen in the Lower Fraser Valley if watersheds farther upstream, where the pine-beetle infestation is intense, all experienced more intense floods.

He said the implications of the study are obvious, but the computer model did not make projections about the broader Fraser watershed.

"What the long-term impacts are for downstream on the Fraser is something we have no information about," Mr. Fraser said.

He said given what they found on Baker Creek, however, a much broader study should obviously be done to determine just how big the flood threat is in the Lower Mainland.

"The impact of the mountain pine beetle has to be modelled for the entire Fraser," he said.

The report explained that when the forests are killed by pine beetles, the needles fall off within a few years, allowing snow to fall more directly to the ground and providing less shade.

The result is a deeper snow pack that melts more quickly in the spring. Salvage logging speeds up that process by removing all the forest cover.

It takes 40 years for replanting to stabilize a watershed.

The computer model, which measured some 6,000 variables in the forest, was developed and run by Dr. Younes Alila of the University of British Columbia faculty of forestry and Dr. Charles Luo of CH2MHILL Engineering.


Okotoks Western Wheel

K-Country - Logging proposal delayed

Province expects Spray Lakes report to be completed by the end of November

November 8, 2006

By Darlene Casten
Staff reporter

A logging plan that stretches from Kananaskis Country south to Nanton has again been delayed.
Cochrane logging company Spray Lakes Sawmills has asked for a second extension on their detailed forest management plan for the southern foothills.
The province agreed to extend the logging company’s deadline to allow them to incorporate new pine beetle information into the plan. The company had previously asked for an extension when it was discovered the pine beetle information they had been provided was incorrect.
Duncan MacDonnell, public affairs officer for Sustainable Resources, said an increased emphasis has been placed on pine beetle management since the pests appeared in northern Alberta.
“The minister has made it a priority that mountain pine beetle be addressed in these plans,” MacDonnell said.
Spray Lakes Sawmills has been given until Nov. 20 to submit their detailed forest management plan, which will be reviewed by forestry officials.
“It undergoes a technical review,” MacDonnell said. “Every aspect of the plan has to be looked at by a planning forester.”
It is expected the review will take three months.
The plan to log in Kananaskis has drawn the ire of an environmental group based in Bragg Creek.
The Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition (BCEC) has held several meetings protesting the logging plan for Kananaskis, which would see 30 per cent of the parkland logged over 20 years.
BCEC president Ralph Cartar has said the logging could result in increased runoff and subsequently diminished water quality for those living downstream of watersheds that flow through Kananaskis. Some residents are also concerned the logging will destroy recreation areas.
Cartar questioned the need for the pine beetle information and its intended use by Spray Lakes.
“They are planning to remove trees that are the first in the bark beetle’s line of attack,” he explained. “That will just create a bottleneck because if you look at the B.C. experience you can see that the beetles move more quickly through clear cuts and they move into areas where they are harder to detect.”
Cartar also questioned the need for pine beetle mitigation in southern Alberta.
“Our trees are a lot smaller and they likely wouldn’t do well anyway,” he said.
Spray Lakes’ plan likely won’t address residents concerns, he continued, adding that it will have to be the province who takes the initiative and change the plan for east Kananaskis.
“Sustainable Resources Development should recognize the public outcry on this matter and revisit their requirement of this land only be a tree farm,” Cartar said. “It is an area for protection of habitat, purification of water and recreation.”
According to MacDonnell, the province will look at how Spray Lakes Sawmill responded to the concerns.
“There are standards that have to be met in the detailed forest management plan,” he said. “One of the standards is the applicant has to address any concerns in the plan.”

This article is from the Okotoks Western Wheel


Rocky View Weekly

Forest harvest plans alarm Bragg Creek residents

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

by Enrique Massot

A project to cut significant swaths of forest in eastern Kananaskis Country are alarming nearby Bragg Creek residents who fear the loss of a precious natural resource if those plans receive governmental approval.

They are planning massive clearcuts," said Ralph Cartar, president of the Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition.

They are taking an area that is already half clearcut, and are now going after the rest."
Cochrane-based Spray Lake Sawmills Ltd. is on the final steps of submitting to the provincial government a detailed plan to harvest timber in Kananaskis Country, the Ghost Waiparous area and the Burnt Timber regions during the next 20 years.

Forestry Manager Ed Kulcsar says the government has designated a six-mile zone with the centre on West Bragg Creek as a Community FireSmart area, with the design of removing trees that could provide fuel to wild fires.

However, Cartar said, other communities have reduced forest fire risks just by thinning the fringe of adjacent forests, while avoiding clearcuts.

"Places like Jasper, Lake Louise, do not cut their forests down when they want to reduce fire hazard," he said.

"They just thin it."

The local portions of K-country are a major part of the local natural environment that is now under serious threat, he said.

"According to these plans, the prospects for the mature pine forests in our area are grim," Cartar states in a online document posted at a Bragg Creek website.

Cartar says current SLS plans targeting most of the remaining forests for clearcutting from 2006 to 2016 will result in a profound transformation of the local natural landscape.
Thinning techniques, he said, reduce fire risk while sparing recreational and aesthetic enjoyment of thousands of users.

"Bragg Creekers value their surrounding forests," he said.

"Why accept elimination of their forests to reduce the risk of fire?"

SLS uses the term "structural retention" instead of clearcut.

"Clearcut typically meant harvesting all trees of marketable sizes," he said.

Instead, Kulcsar said, trees measuring 15 centimetres (six inches) or more in diameter at the stump, will be harvested if the plan is approved. Most trees in the area, lodgepole pines, need 89 years to reach that diameter, he said.

The company is currently conducting a six-week public review process of the plan.
"We would certainly like to hear from the public now," Kulcsar said.

Viewing the plan online, however, requires a fast Internet connection, as the plan is composed of a thick collection of binders. Chapter 8 alone has over 500 pages, including numerous maps.

In the alternative, Kulcsar said, members of the public can find hard copies of the plan in public libraries in Cochrane, Black Diamond, Sundre; or at the Calgary office of the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development.

In addition, he said, "people can contact us and come to our office in Cochrane." A Public Advisory Committee was established in July 2002, with representatives of the ranching community, timber use holders, motorized recreation, non-motorized recreation, environmental, industrial and municipal.

"We hope we covered all the bases," Kulcsar said. After that, we will take whatever comments we receive and submit it to the government in September.”

If the detailed forest management plan is approved, SLS will go the neat step towards operational planning, which involve more field recognizance.

Harvesting will focus on an area in Sibbald Flats that has been designated priority because of the pine beetle threat. Second priority will be two FireSmart government designated areas, including part the area near West Bragg Creek.

In 2001 the provincial government granted SLS a Forest Management Agreement, which transferred forest management of the area from the province to SLS. The agreement, which can be renewed every 20 years, allows SLS to manufacture millions of board feet of lumber, wood chips and other products annually. It states that the primary use of the forest management area is "to establish, grow, harvest and remove timber".

An environmental group says is committed to work with SLS to include recognition of other objectives as well.

"Wildlife and habitat protection, also need to be recognized by SLS," states the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association.

SLS' Forest Management Area covers approximately 2000 square kilometres from Sundre to the southern end of Kananaskis Country.

Promoting alternative harvesting practices to clear cutting and ensuring that comprehensive and effective monitoring takes place are part of best management practices, CPAWS states.

Deadline for submissions from the public is June 23. For more information, log on to www. or to www

This is an article from the Rocky View Times

Their main stories are posted Tuesdays about noon at:

Stories must be read before the weekly issue is replaced the following Tuesday.

The Calgary Herald

Voracious bugs not all bad news

Ralph Cartar, For the Calgary Herald
Published: Monday, May 14, 2007

We're hearing a lot about the impending threat posed by the mountain pine beetle, a pine tree-killing native insect that's now spreading into Alberta. Many of us have seen the beetle's phenomenal impacts on the interior forests of British Columbia.

The beetle threat is taken so seriously here that the Alberta government allocated $50 million of extra emergency funding last month to fight it. It would seem that the sky's falling. But is it?


City has water worries over logging plan

Renata D'Aliesio
Calgary Herald

Monday, April 09, 2007

The City of Calgary remains concerned about the potential adverse effects on its water supply as the province nears a decision on a 20-year logging plan for Kananaskis Country.

Read the article here:


On June 9, 2006, Shelly Wilson wrote the following in a Calgary Herald editorial opinion piece:

It seems a plan by Spray Lakes Sawmills has just surfaced to clearcut pine forests within a 10-kilometre radius of West Bragg Creek including near Allen Bill Pond, starting this year.

Bragg Creek and Calgary residents have joined forces to oppose the clearcuts They say if the plan is approved, where Calgarians are now able to hike, ski or mountain bike through intact forests, they will in future look out over a shattered landscape.

Public opposition seems sure to intensify before the plan comes before Sustainable Resource Development Minister David Coutts on June 23.

The Bragg Creek scenario typifies just one of hundreds of similar dramas now being played out across Alberta.

The players change: Calgary versus adjacent municipalities, inter-industry disputes such as energy and agriculture, or struggles within an industry (like gas versus bitumen).

But the story is the same - it is about mounting land-use conflicts, and the need to resolve them through planning.

We are at a crossroads.

(and later she says)

Enter the idea of "priority land use:' Instead of the current approach of "multiple use" (which assumes unlimited land therefore no conflicts between industries and communities), priority land use involves agreeing to a hierarchy of uses appropriate to each region and its economy and communities.

This should not be done centrally by government, but instead through an open dialogue amongst stakeholders in each region, to create a ranked list of local priorities.

This is an extract from an editorial in The Calgary Herald



Bragg Creek
Residents fear plans for logging

Renata D'Aliesio

This article is the property of the Calgary Herald

Thursday, June 15, 2006

An expanse of trees stretches west of Doug Sephton's home in Bragg Creek.
The bush is thick here, with swaths of old pine and spruce occasionally giving way to trails for hikers and people on mountain bikes.

This stretch of Kananaskis Country lures thousands of visitors each year, many from Calgary.
But Sephton fears it will be transformed into swaths of stumps if the province approves a 20-year logging proposal for the area.

"It will leave a scarred landscape that will be unattractive for recreational users," he said Wednesday. "The experience people will have with the landscape will vastly change.
"In my view, Kananaskis should be protected as a natural resource for people in the Calgary area."

Opposition to Spray Lake Sawmills' logging plan, released last month, is building.
Sephton; a local businessman, is part of the Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition, which is holding a public meeting on the issue tonight, at 8 p.m. at the Bragg Creek Centre.
The public has until June 23 to send comments to the Cochrane-based company. It is required to review the comments before submitting its logging proposal to Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

The government department expects to receive the plan in September, spokesman Duncan MacDonnell said. It's uncertain how long the province's examination of the proposal will take.

An official with Spray Lake Sawmills wasn't available for comment until Friday.
The company has been logging in the area since 1943. In September 2001, it struck a forest management agreement with the province for 3,374 square kilometres of land in two areas - one near Sundre, just east of Banff National Park, and the second in K -Country west of Bragg Creek.

Sephton contends the company's new proposal would intensify logging and lead to clear cutting of 66 per cent of the trees: roughly 1,600 hectares taking about 200,000 trees a year, by his calculations.
Under the forest management agreement, Spray Lake Sawmills was given five years to develop a detailed forest management plan. That plan, which includes 1,000-plus pages of logging information and maps, was posted on the company's website last month.
In the plan, the, company states its agreement with the province allows for "establishing, growing, harvesting and removing timber."

It, also says it recognizes the ecological and social significance of the area.
"It's too close to Calgary for logging to be the prime value," said Ralph Cartar, an environmental science professor at the University of Calgary and president of the Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition.

"Calgarians will lose the closest forest that they have."

The group is now working on a proposal to send to Alberta Community Development to have the, area declared the Moose Mountain Wildland Park.

This article appeared in The Calgary Herald, June 15, 2006


Group proposes park to protect K-Country

Sarah McGinnis, with files from Sean Myers, Calgary Herald

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2006

Moose Mountain should become a provincial park to prevent logging proposed for Kananaskis Country, says the Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition.

To r ead the story click here for the web site

The CBC radio

Wildrose Country, the noon hour radio program will broadcast an interview with Ralph Cartar and Doug Sephton on Thursday, June 15th.

The Eyeopener morning program holds a panel discussion on the issue on Friday, June 16

TV - CTV & CITY TV, Global and CBC

CTV ran two items one on each of their 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on Thursday June 14, 2006. CityTV ran an item on their newscast.

There were a slew of news items on all local TV Stations on Wednesday, June 21, 2006