Logging in Castle Mountain area stokes fear for grizzly bear population

Katie Schneider
Calgary Sun
Date published: 
Mon, 2012-01-02

Logging in the Castle Mountain area could mean the end to an already threatened and dwindling grizzly bear population, says the Sierra Club of Canada.

The area west of Pincher Creek between Crowsnest Pass and Waterton Lakes National Park is home to about 51 grizzlies that roam both sides of the border, and in a couple weeks logging trucks moving in will diminish that number, claims Dianne Pachal, Sierra Club of Canada’s Alberta Wild Director.

“The size of Castle is about the size of the average home for a male bear,” she said.

“From a grizzly bear perspective, it’s not that large so logging impacts that whole ecosystem.

“They don’t have a secure habitat — the province is liquidating their habitat.”

Pachal said bears are most threatened within 500 metres from a road or trail left open to motorized use.

As well, she said independent surveys found three-quarters or more of the 18,000 surrounding area residents, along with people in Lethbridge, Coaldale, oppose the logging and want to see wildland park legislation used to better protect the Castle area, which is public land under Alberta’s jurisdiction.

But Dave Ealey, spokesman with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, said logging is a part of professional sustainable forestry management that has occurred in Alberta for years.

Ealey said the concerns don’t accurately reflect what is happening in the area.

“Sustainable forestry is making use of a renewable resource,” he said.

Ealey said the logging is done in a way that is compatible to the animals and their habitat, as any modifications done to the forest in the process mimic changes that occur naturally.

“We regrow after it’s harvested to mimic natural forest change,” he said.

Logging in Castle Mountain area stokes fear for grizzly bear population, Media Release, January 2, 2012

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