Numerous people provided feedback. From trappers, loggers and snowmobilers to environmentalists, politicians and business owners. People from all walks of life attended. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

‘We’re concerned’: hundreds attend caribou meeting in Revelstoke

Government representatives are gathering feedback on proposed plans to protect caribou

There was standing room only at the caribou conservation meeting last night.

A crowd of more than 800 filled the Community Centre auditorium, spilling into the hallway. Thousands more tuned in to watch the proceedings live.

Government representatives are traveling the province to gather feedback on two draft agreements to protect endangered caribou.

One draft plan covers the southern mountain caribou herds from the Kootenays to north of Prince George and the other focuses on the central mountain herds in northeastern B.C.

Mayor Gary Sulz told the government representatives that Revelstoke wants a seat at the table for ongoing caribou recovery plans negotiations.

“In a loud and clear tone. We’re concerned.”

READ MORE: MLA for Revelstoke calls draft caribou plans ‘worrisome’

The draft for the southern herds includes plans for road rehabilitation in caribou habitat, a review of the predator control program, development of another captive breeding program for caribou, more management of deer and moose populations, a review of logging practices and heliskiing and an increase in undisturbed habitat for caribou.

Mayor Gary Sulz said if the federal government knew there was the potential for huge job loses, they’d tell the provincial government that they’d “screwed up” on caribou recovery plans. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

The drafts are meant to minimize the risk of a federal emergency order that would unilaterally close off caribou habitats and result in billions of dollars in economic loss, according to the B.C. government.

Concerns raised at the meeting include potential loss of backcountry access for recreationalists, motorized or not, devastation to the logging industry and loss of access for trappers. Others questioned the science behind caribou recovery and wanted more transparency.

The representatives said the government is trying to be as clear as possible.

“We’re an open book. Ask us anything on caribou recovery,” said Darcy Peel, director of B.C. caribou recovery program.

READ MORE: ‘We need to help ourselves’: caribou presentation tells Revelstoke to band together

Although there are no closures proposed in the drafts, it’s possible they could be added. In other documentation for specific herds, potential closures are noted.

For example, recommended actions for Frisby-Boulder-Queest herd calls to “close snowmobiling in all delineated core areas.” However, the document doesn’t include what that entails.

According to the B.C. government, caribou in the province have declined from 40,000 in the early 1900s to less than 19,000 today.

While some people at the meeting last night called for stricter logging restrictions and halting the wolf cull, most were concerned with potential snowmobile restrictions and impact to the local economy.

“I want the government to understand how devastated we could be,” said Sulz.

Revelstoke’s economy is largely forestry and tourism based.

READ MORE: Caribou plans could have big consequences for Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation

George Buhler, president of Revelstoke Rod and Gun Club, said more has to be done to control wolf predation. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Peel said the largest immediate issue facing caribou is predation from wolves, bears and cougars. However, increased predation is partly due to habitat change caused by industry and recreationalists.

The provincial government has pledged $47 million towards caribou recovery over five years, with the federal government contributing an additional $5 million.

Some in attendance asked whether saving caribou is even possible. Regardless of money and resources.

“Is it like washing dishes on the Titanic?” Asked George Benwell, Revelstoke resident.

Peel said the government has an obligation and a moral duty to at least try.

In regards to whether Revelstoke will have a place at the table for negotiations, the representatives said it will.

“We’ve heard you,” said Russ Laroche, from the ministry of forests.

Premier John Horgan has extended the local consultation time frame through to May.

Those looking to provide feedback online can do so here.

There is another caribou meeting scheduled tonight in Nelson.


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Angus Woodman, plant manager for Downie Timber, spoke about the potential negative impacts to the timber industry. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Jacqueline Palmer, a Revelstoke local, asked for more protection against logging in certain areas with old growth forests. Revelstoke is home to the only temperate inland rainforest in the world. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Just Posted

Future of heli-skiing unknown with caribou recovery plans

CMH presented to Revelstoke city council this month to outline its impact on the community

Support for Penticton shooting victim

A GoFundMe has been started for one of the four people killed April 15

Bears are up and at ‘em

Conservation office reminding residents to secure attractants and report bear sightings

Annual Nk’maplqs Challenge Cup returns easter weekend

The goal of the Vernon-based event is to revitalize the game and the tradition of an all-native hockey tournament in the Interior.

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Shuswap dancer stays across street from Penticton shooting day after Salmon Arm tragedy

Dancers come for festival, put in lockdown in rec centre, watch police response from Airbnb window

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

COLUMN: Bunnies, sexuality and the freedom to read

A book about a gay bunny has been the subject of challenges

Vernon-raised BC Was Awesome producer returns home for filming of episode

The topic of this Vernon-featured episode has not yet been revealed.

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Vernon choir marks 40 years of making music

Order of Canada recipient directs finale

Most Read