Fire beetle infestation leads to logging

Canim Lake Band foresters meet with South shore residents

CRD Area H Director Margo Wagner says about a dozen South Canim Lake area residents turned out for a meeting she’d arranged with the Canim Lake Band Forestry Department to discuss area logging to help control a fir beetle infestation.

About a month after that meeting, the band’s forestry experts supplied her with more details on what they’d found at the site, Wagner explains.

“I got a call from [Canim Lake Band timber operations manager] John Kalmakoff … saying that they had sent somebody up there and it was a ‘severe’ infestation.”

Wagner persists in this categorization despite a previous statement by Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations public affairs officer Greig Bethel that disagreed with her description of “severe infestation” along S. Canim Lake Road – calling it instead a “periodic outbreak.”

See related story headlined Douglas fir beetles infesting Canim Lake areas on the front page of the Nov. 3 edition of the 100 Mile House Free Press.

Recently, Kalmakoff reported to her that his crews had seen something like 1,000 beetle-killed Douglas fir trees in just a one-to-two kilometre area, Wagner says, adding this meets “the parameters of a severe infestation.”

“They are going to do some selected logging of the infected trees … in this severe area, just kind of up behind Canim Lake Store, that probably stretches for about four or five kilometres in the Crown land.”

The Area H Director says this is an “extremely steep area” but she was also informed the crews will use an existing old logging road to do the initial selecting clearing, and then attempt to utilize some smaller side trails.

Then, the band’s forestry crews are also going to prepare some live bait trees along the border by the private property, which mimic the beetle’s MCH pheromone and, hopefully, indicate to other beetles that the tree is full and deter further infestation, she explains.

“That is to prevent the beetle from coming down more into private property, but the problem there is it’s a seasonal fix, so whether the [provincial] government will pay to do it again, I don’t know.”

Wagner says she and the band are hoping this will get the fir beetles under control, but if it doesn’t, residents can expect to see more logging up there.

The concerns she heard from other residents of the area – also her neighbourhood – was the protection of the water sources (most depend on artesian wells fed by surface/lake water) and retaining land stability on the steep slope.

Wagner says she did bring this up, and was assured the band’s foresters are “well aware” and understand these issues, and also share these concerns, so will manage this as best they can.

Many residents have signed a letter of support for the band’s logging she prepared unofficially (as a resident, not a CRD director), which also re-iterated these two concerns, she adds.

“I want to say how much the [neighbourhood residents] appreciate the absolutely phenomenal engagement by the Canim Lake Band.

“Because, honestly, they didn’t need to contact us at all – this is Crown land and part of their forest management license area, and it will also be part of their aboriginal/First Nations title.”

Wagner says she and her neighbours hope to rescue the old growth Douglas fir trees in the area, many of them on their private property or enjoyed in their own backyards.

No response was received from requests for comment from Canim Lake Band to press time.

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