Logging is one of those old school “live off the land” industries that when done sustainably and responsibly can be both profitable and OK for ecosystems. Clear cut logging, like the project proposed in Southwest Alberta’s Kenanaskis Country, however, has a long list of potential harmful ecological impacts. A local volunteer group, Take a Stand for Kananaskis and the Upper Highwood, is sounding the alarm and providing Canadians an easy to use platform to advocate against this project.

Map of areas to be clear cut logged in Kananaskis Country

  • With the many impacts of clear cutting, streams and rivers, and all the organisms inhabiting these waterbodies, face heightened risks. After clearcutting a timber stand, erosion can wreak havoc on river systems–oftentimes, fundamentally altering the region’s hydrology, ecosystems and fisheries.
  • This project is not small. It will log 1,100 hectares (nearly 2,500 football fields) and is adjacent to Alberta’s Highwood River, a tributary of the famed Bow River and well known for its premier fly fishing opportunities for bull trout and west slope cutthroat.
  • What makes this project unique–from the public’s perspective–is Albertans pay an annual $90 fee to recreate in this zone. And now, a logging company is gearing up to clear cut this public land!
  • The project is set to begin in a couple months, which is “during the winter closure of the Highwood Pass, a closure that is meant to protect the winter migration of wildlife in the area.”

“The Highwood River is one of Alberta’s headwaters and is essential and critical habitat to many species including Alberta’s prized and provincial fish, the Bull trout,” said Amber Toner of Take a Stand. “Bull trout populations have been in a steady decline due to climate change, industry involvement, human pressure, agriculture and more. The upper Highwood river and its tributaries in the proposed clear cut zone are critical spawning areas for bull trout and to have 1100 hectares of that forest removed ensures the total demise of that fish species. Not only that, but your displacing many other species at risk (like the grizzly bear) and also putting communities downstream at danger of future flooding due to soil and bank erosion with no standing trees to bear the brunt of the high water runoff. It’s a lose lose situation for everyone and everything.”
Be sure to check out this LINK if you want to learn more or lend your voice to this effort.
Photos by Amber Toner, @TheBugParade



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