A Horsefly resident is raising the alarm about logging activity in her area.
Helen Englund, a director on the Horsefly River Roundtable, has been writing letters to government and amassing information on harvesting plans, learning the language and how the industry works.
“It all started with five blocks across the road from us,” she told the Tribune from her home. “It was deer winter range when we lived here in the 90s, but in the meantime, that map has changed,” she said. “There was also an Old Growth (OGMA) reconciliation conducted before 2003, this means,that based on a timber supply review OGMAs were over-allocated in the Horsefly District, so there was an exercise to reduce the size and placement of several OGMAs within each landscape unit.”
Yet, she added, they go through that area and see deer all the time.
In June of 2018, the Horsefly River was given Fisheries Sensitive Watershed designation.
“They have two years to comply so in the meantime the allowable annual cut is usually for about eight to 10 years, but that is now under review and should be coming in hopefully next year at the same time as the designation goes into effect,” Englund said.
The Horsefly River Roundtable sent a letter to Minister Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, dated April 11, 2019, stating while they support the logging industry, the “current cut rate will destroy mule deer winter range, increase stream bank erosion and raise the water temperature.”
To date Donaldson has not responded personally, however, in an e-mail, a ministry spokesperson said communication has been ongoing between the district, Band other stakeholders within the Horsefly area.
“Minimal logging has occurred in Horsefly over the last 10 years due to the mountain pine beetle tree harvesting that was occurring elsewhere in the district,” the spokesperson noted. “Logging has begun in the Horsefly area, so it may appear as accelerated, but the timber supply review public discussion paper shows the shift to that area mid-way through the 10-year timber supply review determination.”
Englund said the local ministry forestry office has been very helpful when she’s asked for information and are working hard for her.
Describing the Horsefly region as the “last green” area that is close for companies to log, Englund said her fear is they will come in and get what they can before the fisheries designation is in effect, adding the AAC is being lowered, just like other areas in B.C.
“We don’t want to stop logging, we just want it done responsibly,” she added. “Logging, fishing and ranching have made this country what it is, but be more responsible and stay away from the rivers so that future generations can work and play here.”
To figure out where logging is planned in the Horsefly area, she has been referring to the Cariboo region maps available online at the https://maps.forsite.ca/cariboo_inforshare website.
“Up Black Creek they are logging deer winter range, they’ve left some retention, but not enough. There are three different types of old growth category in this area and in some old growth they can go in and take a little bit, some they have to leave alone, some is on a rotation. It just seems to be like they are getting what they can.”
As she eyes the future, Englund said she feels she has to try to fight for some changes.
“Everybody keeps telling me there is nothing I can do, and I understand that, but if I don’t say anything then what are my grandchildren going to say? ‘You saw it happen and you didn’t do anything?’ At least I’m trying. I think people are worried, but they feel they can’t do anything.”