Valhalla Provincial Park stretches from the far shore of Slocan Lake in British Columbia, to the mountaintops.
Valhalla Provincial Park was created in 1983 after eight years of hard-won battle by the Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS). VWS went on to successfully spearhead campaigns for the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, Goat Range Provincial Park, and the Spirit Bear Conservancies on Princess Royal Island. The charitable organization also played one of the key roles in the protection of South Moresby National Park Reserve. Its Endangered Wilderness Map of 1988 initiated the movement to double BC’s park system to 12% of the province. VWS has led park campaigns that now protect over 560,000 hectares. The work resulted in numerous national and international conservation awards received by Chairperson Colleen McCrory.
The Valhalla Wilderness Society
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Two Proposals for New Parks to Protect Ancient Forest,
Mountain Caribou, Grizzly Bears and Other Species at Risk
Today BC needs a dramatic increase in the percent of parks. Clearcut logging, mines, pipelines and other development have occurred far out of balance with protected lands. BC now has 1,500 species at risk. A large mammal — the mountain caribou, found nowhere else in the world — is in serious danger of extinction. Watch Primeval to explore our Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park proposal. Click here to see maps and photos of the proposals.
Click here to take action!
Last year the federal Minister of Environment (EC) announced that Mountain Caribou are facing “imminent threat to recovery” because of habitat loss, and said that IMMEDIATE new habitat protection is urgently required. Unfortunately, negotiations between BC, the EC and some First Nations have already taken one whole year. The result is two government-to-government draft agreements: 1) a proposed “Partnership Agreement” between BC, Canada and two First Nations for the management of South Peace herds; and 2) a proposed “Section 11 Agreement” (named for Section 11 of the Species at Risk Act) for all the herds. The government is now seeking public comments on these two draft Agreements. The draft Partnership Agreement is approved by VWS and other environmental groups. The draft Section 11 Agreement is opposed by VWS and various other environmental groups. It includes the “Southern Group” (a.k.a. “Deep-snow Caribou”) of the Interior Wetbelt. This draft agreement would put the Deep-snow Caribou in much danger, because it proposes to take two more years of public process just to consider new protection. Meanwhile BC’s unsustainable logging and rampant oil and gas development will be decimating the habitat under consideration. Four herds have been lost since 2014. A well-organized industry misinformation campaign is telling people that saving more habitat for caribou will destroy their jobs and communities. To outweigh these falsehoods, it is going to take every possible person who cares about BC’s wildlife to write a letter to the government. If you care — act now!
See the government documents here. Fill out the government’s online comment form here. Click here to see VWS’s map showing how much habitat of the Deep-snow Caribou has been logged. Click here for VWS’s full 13-page submission to government. Many people prefer to write a letter rather than use the government’s comment form. Click “more” to see VWS’s key points for letter writing, plus email addresses to ensure your letter is received by government by May 31.
The Valhalla Wilderness Society responds to Wildsight’s article, “Caribou Recovery —What Does It All Mean?”
Twice each year the Deep-snow Caribou migrate from the high mountains to lower elevations, where old-growth forest is key to their survival. These Central Selkirk caribou are in the valley-bottom of the Lardeau River. Photo by Karl Grfroerer.
As the logging industry fights tooth and nail to resist cutting back one iota on the amount of logging that threatens the caribou with extinction, it has enormously exaggerated the impact of caribou habitat protection on the timber supply, and thus on jobs and communities. However, the flip-side — which is under-representing how much forest the caribou need — must also be avoided, because it’s the reason why the previous, 2007 recovery plan resulted in ongoing habitat loss and population decline. Is a recovery program with only “minor” reductions in logging of critical habitat desirable or laudable, when most of the habitat has already been logged, and overcutting is wiping out many species and accelerating climate change? We don’t think so. Click HERE to see how much of the caribou’s critical habitat has already been logged. Wildsight recently released an interview entitled “Caribou Recovery — What Does It All Mean?” that offers a good opportunity for examining these issues. Below, VWS offers a different view of what it all means.
Photo: Jim Lawrence
West Kootenays, Trout Lake —The Central Selkirk caribou herd lost another six animals last year; at 25 animals, it is in high danger of being wiped out. Yet BC Timber Sales (BCTS) is logging some of the herd’s last remaining old-growth forest along Trout Lake in the Lardeau River Valley. “I have been seeing caribou tracks on the edge of the clearcuts,” says Jim Lawrence, President of Friends of the Lardeau River and prominent wildlife photographer. “The two governments’ continued disregard for caribou survival is outrageous and makes a mockery of the Species at Risk Act.”
“This has been happening while the federal and provincial governments have spent a whole year talking about how they are going to protect more caribou habitat,” says Craig Pettitt, a Director of the Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS). “Now the BC government says it wants another two years to complete new herd plans.”
A recent report has revealed that British Columbia’s greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions is not accounted for in Canada’s emissions reports. Old growth forests contribute tremendously to global climate regulation and carbon sequestration. However, the last of B.C.’s ancient forests continue to be clearcut, strewn in waste piles, and slash burned to make room for plantation forests. In collaboration with Voices for Good Air, Valhalla Wilderness Society is calling for a moratorium on old growth clearcutting to reduce the risk of climate catastrophe.
Click here to read the full press release.