Head-off clear-cutting the Castle Special Place. Write Alberta’s new premier today!

October 25, 2011

Unless we act now, as early as next week, bulldozers will be building logging roads in former national park lands to clear-cut what today is the Castle Special Place protected area. (Box to write & click-to-email letter at http://tinyurl.com/3fsucov )

There’s hope for this southwest Alberta “Special Place” in this UN International Year of Forests. In the leadership race, Premier Alison Redford used this issue as an example of how the government hadn’t been listening. 

Local businesses oppose clear-cutting this vital part of the international Crown of the Continent ecosystem and National Geographic geotourism area.  Surveys found the majority of area residents not only oppose the logging, but also want the Castle’s “protected area” status backed up by laws as a Wildland Park. Join them in opposing the logging and supporting a Wildland Park. (Box to write & click-to-email letter at http://tinyurl.com/3fsucov )

For More Information on the issue

Castle Logging Gets Final Approval to Start Any Time Now

October 7, 2011

Here is an important e-mail from Dianne Pachal:

SRD has given Spray Lake Sawmills final approval (i.e. has approved detailed Annual Operating Plan for Castle) to start logging at any time now through April 30 2012 (retroactive approval for period May 1st 2010 through April 30 2011 as per volumes in SLS’ 2011 version of their 5-year  General Development Plan.)

SRD also confirmed that they did approve and issue a larger logging license in terms of land area, so it does now include Whitney, Mill and Gladstone Valleys inside the Castle / Forest Reserve boundary and that means three-years of logging approved in principle, with the detailed plans (Annual Operating Plan) to be approved each year of logging.  Again issuing a logging license in the Castle or expansion of a license there without public consultation on whether or not the license should be there prior to the decision to issue the license.  Castle logging would account for 7% of the logs SLS cuts during their five-year logging plan.

So, SRD is pre-empting:
    • The AB Government completing the work it started with designating the Castle a Special Place protected area, as has been completed for the other 80 Special Place protected areas (i.e. legislating the protection under Alberta’s Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Natural Areas & Heritage Rangelands Act or Provincial Parks Act, which includes Wildland Parks).
    • Outcome of regional land-use planning.  Public input so far is that the public wants to see clear-cut logging phased out throughout the South Saskatchewan Region (SSRP) and that tourism & recreation is more important for future economic growth than logging.   Independent surveys on the Castle found majority of are residents are opposed to logging the Castle and want a Wildland Park there.  Gov’t did not ask for input on new parks & other such protected areas in the public consultation so far on the SSRP, just about the broader concept of “conservation areas,” which includes managed resource development.  They did ask about new parks in the consultation on the Land Use Framework for the regional plans.  The majority (68%) are “willing to accept limits to forestry development to provide more protected areas.”  (Table 2, pg 15, Land-Use Framework Workbook Summary Report, October 2007 https://landuse.alberta.ca/Documents/LUF%20Land-use%20Framework%20Workbook%20Summary%20Report-2007-10.pdf)”
SLS logging for this winter season is double the Annual Allowable Cut in their Crown Timber Quota agreement with the province for the Crowsnest Forest (C5) in which the Castle Special Place protected area is located. Over their five-year General Development Plan (approved this year by SRD) it is 48% or about 6,799 truck loads (292,357 cubic meters) of logs over.  (Castle is a total of 4737 truck loads of logs.) That 48% over ACC is a volume that was not logged in the prior 5 years, that can be applied for approval to be “carried over” to be logged in the current five-year General Development Plan.  The approval for that carry over has NOT been given yet and what ever final amount is approved can be accounted any year in the five-years (e.g. 4th or 5th year).  SRD replied: Provincially, SRD is considering a new directive for the implementation of Carryover. As such, no Carryover has been currently approved. GDP [General Development Plan] approval does not constitute blanket approvals for Annual Operating Plans or exceptions to future policy directives and existing AACs.  So, we could have a situation, where like the previous 5 years, lumber markets remain low (e.g. low new housing starts in US & Cnd), Castle is logged now, but ample approved volume of logs elsewhere in the Crowsnest & Bow Forests in less contentious areas, that remain unlogged.  Or a smaller Carryover is approved, but Castle is still logged out and other less contentious areas (those not mapped as protected areas or environmentally significant areas) also approved for logging remain unlogged.

Tim Juhlin, District Forester left message returning my phone message of a week or so ago, confirming approval of the Annual Operating Plan for the Castle, that SLS can start any time now, and that the carryover has not been approved as per explanation about.
Tim Juhlin, District Forester left message returning my phone message of a week or so ago, confirming approval of the Annual Operating Plan for the Castle, that SLS can start any time now, and that the carryover has not been approved as per explanation about.


Dianne Pachal, Alberta WILD Director
Sierra Club Canada #210, 223 – 12th Ave., S.W.
Calgary, AB  T2R 0G9
Phone 403 234-7368; FAX 403 234-9532
To Donate: http://secure.sierraclub.ca/
Website: www.sierraclub.ca/wilderness