Sponsors: Williams Lake
WHEREAS forest health is essential to resource development and economic opportunities in our region;
AND WHEREAS British Columbia communities continue to struggle with the effects of the pine beetle epidemic that was exacerbated by restrictions imposed by park and protected area designations, and a fir and spruce beetle infestation has now taken hold as a result of inadequate measures to control beetle infestation:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NCLGA and the UBCM support lobbying the provincial government to take a proactive approach to the health of the forest, with extraction of diseased trees taking precedence over park or protected area designations, as well as other restrictions such as mule deer winter range or old growth designations.
Currently, 12% of British Columbia’s forests are located in parks and the remaining 88% can be heavily impacted by forest management decisions within the parks. Our forests are suffering the effects of climate change as seen by continued forest pest outbreaks province-wide. We need to have a forest management strategy in place for the entire forest.
The vision for parks needs to change to address our changing world. Parks were originally created to protect unique landscape features or areas. Over the years, this began to include protection of wildlife habitat. If the fir and spruce beetle infestation are not proactively addressed, the habitat will be lost for the wildlife species it was created for.
British Columbia has parks and protected areas designed to protect wildlife such as Caribou, but have not addressed all issues such as access control, monitoring, forest health, poaching and predation. Unless these more sensitive issues are addressed, the Province is tying up tens of millions in timber value for a strategy that does not adequately meet the goals of wildlife management. Responsible forest management will address these issues.