Outdoor enthusiasts urge government to ban logging
Local politicians offered strong support Thursday to a local group of outdoor recreation enthusiasts who are urging the provincial government to ban logging in an area near Penticton used by tens of thousands of local hikers, cross-country skiers and mountain bike enthusiasts.
Following a presentation by Neda Joss, spokesperson for the Carmi Recreation Trails Group, the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen voted unanimously to send a letter to Forests Minister Doug Donaldson urging a permanent halt to logging on Carmi Mountain.
British Columbia Timber Sales has initiated a development plan that includes selling timber rights to forestry companies in the area, said Joss.
Allowing logging in the area would force outdoor enthusiasts who have enjoyed the Carmi recreation trails for more than seven decades to find somewhere else to hike, ski and mountain bike, she said.
Members of her group aren’t necessarily opposed to logging, but not in that area, she told the board.
Logging would negatively affect “every trail up there,” she added.
Ron Obirek, the RDOS director for Area D (Skaha East and Okanagan Falls), told colleagues he recently visited the area and clear-cutting there would devastate the recreation trails.
“This value and this use will not survive clearcut logging,” he said.
Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff said any time the RDOS can make efforts to protect parks and trails, it should do so.
“Once we lose them, we lose them,” she said. “I think it’s really important for us to look further ahead and down the road for our children and grandchildren and protect what we can.” Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki agreed. “I believe it’s an asset, an asset that benefits the whole region and I’m a strong believer in supporting assets and making sure they don’t get destroyed,” he said.
“We need outdoor recreation, not only for the present generation, but future generations.”
Following her presentation and the board’s vote of support, Joss was pleased.
“I think there’s a lot of people on that board that are in support of recreation, so I’m not surprised with their support,” she said.
Joss will continue with her push to meet directly with Donaldson at his earliest convenience and promised the group will continue to ramp up the political pressure.
“We will keep the pressure on. It’s not over yet,” she said.
Penticton MLA Dan Ashton presented a petition with more than 1,400 names to Donaldson in the provincial legislature two weeks ago.
Ashton attended Thursday afternoon’s meeting, but had to leave before the board voted to support the motion to send a letter to Donaldson.
Trails in the Carmi Mountain area are at risk of being closed due to logging, says a group of recreational users that’s fighting back.