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
Download Our Newsletter
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!
Public review and comment processes for the following forest practices laws are coming to a close. There is just enough time for you to write some comments:
For Crown land logging: the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) — deadine July 15
A government discussion paper and online form are available at: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/forestandrangepractices. But it would be better to send a letter to engageFRPA@gov.bc.ca.
2006 logging in the Incomappleux Valley under the FRPA
The old Forest Practices Code was massively weakened in 2004 to produce the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). Now stronger rules are desperately needed to respond to the dual crises of climate change and species loss. These are VWS’s top priorities for amending the FRPA:
- End the logging of old-growth forests 250 years or older.
- Five-Year Plans with public access to maps showing the location and size of clearcuts should be restored.
- Provisions for protecting slope stability and watersheds, such as those in the old Forest Practices Code, should be restored. It used to be illegal for companies to cause landslides, but under the FRPA, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment don’t even investigate landslides.
- Consumptive-use watersheds should be a distinct category, identified in the FRPA and in logging plans, and protected under law, not under guidelines. This category should have increased protective measures.
- Waste volumes rose substantially under the FRPA while fines for it declined. This requires stronger regulation.
For more recommendations download VWS’s full submission to government here.
For Private land logging, the Private Managed Forest Land Act (PMFLA) — deadline July 22.
Government background information and online comment form: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/privatemanagedforest/ However, VWS urges you to write a letter instead, because the online form skirts the major problems with this law and program. You can send letters to government to PMFLProgramReview@gov.bc.ca. VWS calls for three important changes to the PMFL Act:
1. The Private Managed Forest Land Program should be mandatory for all private land logging.
2. The forest practice regulations for the PMLF Program should be strengthened to the level that is required on Crown land.
3. The PMFLA should not provide participants an exemption from restrictions on logging passed by local governments.
For more information download VWS’s full submission to government here.
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.
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.