More on West Bragg Creek Logging

Apparently, Sustainable Resources (SRD) requires approved stakeholders to consult with each other before they will give approval to any activity in an area. The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association (GBCTA) as an approved stakeholder was required to consult extensively with other stakeholders including Spray Lakes Sawmills in order to get permission to build the new trails. I am told they went over the alignment of every trail in great detail before final approval was given. In a similar vein, Spray Lakes Sawmills is required to consult with the stakeholders, including GBCTA, before logging plans are approved. This consultation only started in November and is likely to take several months as the impact of every cut block on the trails, and ways to mitigate that impact, need to be agreed upon. If this process is followed by SRD, it seem unlikely that much logging will be done this summer.

We have been asked to circulate an open letter from Troy Delfs, one of the key trail builders with GRCTA & CMBA and also a member of Sustain Kananaskis Country. Here it is:

Hi Friends,

Extensive clearcut logging is planned to take place this summer in the West Bragg Creek region of Kananaskis Country.  This logging will have a direct and detrimental affect on 90% of the recreational trails in the region, not to mention the impact on the watershed, environment and the local community. I am sharing this information with you because it will have a huge negative impact on not only me, my family and other Bragg Creek residents but it will also have a significant impact on Calgarians and the region in general.  This note is to help spread the word and inform people of what is planned and encourage you to take action on this issue.  We must act NOW on this issue and ‘Have a Voice’.

The Logging Plans

  • Spray Lake Sawmills (SLS) is seeking final approval from Alberta Sustainable Resources Development (SRD) to start extensive clearcut logging in West Bragg Creek.
  • SLS is planning to clearcut 700 hectares or 1300 football fields of forest over a 9 month period starting this summer.
  • Prior to logging different areas SLS is required to inform the public of their logging plans and consult with them.
  • SLS is just now starting their public consultation process on this logging plan.
  • How can they possibly expect to truly engage the public, address their concerns, make any necessary changes to their plans and then make their own arrangements to log in 5 short months?
  • All logging plans must be delayed until a complete and facilitated public consultation process has taken place.

Impact on the Trails

  • The West Bragg Creek region of Kananaskis Country has long been a popular destination for xc-skiers, hikers and mountain bikers.
  • The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association (GBCTA) has revitalized the cross-country skiing in this area over the past few years by keeping the trails groomed and maintained.
  • The GBCTA has raised over $300,000 and provided thousands of volunteer hours this past year to build over 35 km of new single track trails.
  • These new trails were built with the endorsement and support from Alberta Tourism Parks & Recreation.
  • These new trails climb up out of the quagmire of the old logging road trails to higher and dryer ground providing a long overdue connection between West Bragg Creek & Station Flats.
  • 19 of the 21 trails in this area will have clearcuts located directly adjacent to or over top of them if this plan goes ahead. See Map
  • The impact of the logging on the trails will most likely result in excessive erosion and water damage to the summer trails and lack of wind and sun shelter on the winter trails.
  • During the logging operations many of the trials will be closed and likely directly damaged.
  • Because of the location and excessive amount of logging planned it will have a detrimental and very long lasting impact on this beloved recreational area.
  • I truly believe that if the logging is to go ahead as planned it would virtually eliminate this area as a desirable recreation destination for the next 10 years at least.

Watershed & Environment

  • Whatever happens in the Elbow River watershed has a direct and often significant impact on everybody downstream.
  • How will this large scale clear cutting located very near the Elbow River and it’s tributaries affect the quality of water in Calgary?
  • How will it affect ares prone of flooding such as Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows and Calgary?
  • This proposed round of logging is much larger than harvests in the past.  How will this affect the current wildlife and the future biodiversity?

Fire Protection

  • SLS is trying to justify this logging plan under the guise of fire protection for the community of Bragg Creek.
  • I agree with the fact that Bragg Creek is at a high risk for forest fires and that something must be done about it.
  • One experience I have from my years with the Calgary Fire Department is that fire fighers will only use a tool if it is reliable, effective and available.
  • The ‘tool’ that SLS & SRD are proposing is that a number of clearcuts loosely strung together and allowed to regrow will act as sufficient fire protection for Bragg Creek.
  • Time must be taken to properly plan permanent & well placed fuel breaks.
  • Let’s provide firefighters with an effective and reliable tool that they can use in the event of fires for years to come.

What is Sustain Kananaskis?

  • Sustain K is a group of people like me that want our voices to be heard.
  • We want to hold SLS & SRD accountable to the public and insist that they delay logging operations until a complete and facilitated public consultation process has taken place.

What Can You Do?

  • Write a letter to your MLA, the Premier, the Minister of SRD – click here
  • Sign the online petition – click here
  • Get more information –   www.SustainK.ca
  • Spread the word – Twitter, Facebook, e-mail
  • Attend the Open House : Bragg Creek Community Centre Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:00 – 7:00 pm.

As you have probably gathered, this cause is extremely important to me and I ask that you get involved and ‘Have a Voice’.

Thank-you, Troy

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1 comment… add one
  • Maurice Gaucher Jan 27, 2012, 12:35 pm

    Consider the huge area of SRD lands leased by Spraylakes Sawmills, then ask why they would create a public relations nightmare by clear cutting a highly used recreation area in Calgary’s backyard. Especially when the amazing efforts of many very dedicated volunteers have been going on since 2009! The role of SRD in all of this is I think a key concern. As stated in my open letter to Premier Redford ( the only route to a solution !) SRD must be told to approve this logging ONLY after Spraylakes Sawmills has fully satisfied the requirements of the Bragg Creek Trails Association.

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