Logging road in Sasquatch Provincial Park?

June 19, 2014

Tamihi Logging hosts public consultation on hauling timber through Class A park

CHILLIWACK, BC - A public meeting being held today in Chilliwack by a logging company will help determine whether the BC government approves a logging road that would bisect Sasquatch Provincial Park, near Harrison Hot Springs. The 1,217-hectare Class A park, which boasts three lakes and over 330,000 visitors a year, is renowned for its recreation values.

As part of the public consultation process regarding removal of lands from parks and protected areas, proponents – including logging, pipeline and LNG companies – are responsible for holding public meetings and gauging feedback.

"Community opposition is widespread and firm against allowing logging trucks in Sasquatch Park. Exit polls from a public meeting showed 90 per cent of people who attended are opposed to such industrial activity in this park. Over 30 local businesses have already agreed to post a petition opposing the trucks," said local resident Debbie Hansen.

The meeting in Chilliwack is being held by Tamihi Logging Co., on behalf of the Seabird Island Aboriginal Band, to determine if roads within Sasquatch Park can be removed from park protection to allow timber hauling through the park.

"It is terribly wrong and bizarre that the logging company has been put in charge of these public meetings on the future of Sasquatch Park. This flawed process means that we are going to have to push very hard to see that the logging truck scheme is ditched and the park protected," said Foy, National Campaign Director with the Wilderness Committee.

Over 30 provincial parks, including Bridal Veil Falls, Kalamalka Lake, North Thompson River, Wells Gray and Sasquatch, have been identified by the BC government as potential targets for having their boundaries “adjusted” to accommodate mining, logging and pipeline interests.

Early this year the provincial government passed Bill 4, the Park Amendment Act, which allows companies to conduct research for industrial purposes such as pipelines and logging roads – something previously not allowed. Once research has been conducted to determine where to locate the pipeline or the logging road, the company can then apply to have land removed from the park under the Park Boundary Adjustment Policy.

“This park, like all BC’s parks, was created in order to protect a specific set of recreational and natural values, values that would be compromised by the proposed industrial activity,” said Peter Wood of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “We are extremely concerned with the precedent that this sets.”

The initiative to remove land from Sasquatch Park for a logging road is at Stage 2, at which point a proponent is required to submit a more detailed proposal to government. Once the proposal is submitted to the Minister of the Environment, Mary Polak, she can accept or reject the proposal. Reasons for rejecting the proposal can include: significant adverse environmental and social impacts that cannot be avoided, significant public or First Nations opposition or insufficient overall benefit to the Province.

"Harrison Hot Springs is BC's first resort. For 130 years, it has been the place people come to admire the beauty of nature. Our tourism industry is based on our scenery and having very civilised facilities on the edge of the green forests. All of that is threatened by the blighting of our viewscape by visible clearcuts. We Harrison business people started Sasquatch Park. It would be a major loss to us and to BC's economy to see logging allowed anywhere in the Sasquatch Valley," said John Allen, owner of the Harrison Country Club RV Resort.

The public meeting will be held this evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Fraser Room at the Coast Chilliwack Hotel (45920 First Avenue, Chilliwack).

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For more information, please contact:

John Allen | Owner, Harrison Country Club RV Resort, 1-604-796-9117

Debbie Hansen | Local Resident, 1-604-491-4241 (home) or 604-307-3374 (cell)

John Coles | Local Resident, 1-604-796-9793

Peter Wood | Terrestrial Campaigns Director, CPAWS BC, 604-761-3075

Joe Foy | National Campaign Director, Wilderness Committee, 604-880-2580