Photos of logging in Sibbald
www.flickr.com More Photos
This logging operation is located at the top of K-Country opposite the Lusk Creek day use area on Hwy 68 - turn east at Barrier Lake on Hwy 40.
Sustainable Resource Development claims they need to clear-cut to stop the pine beetle. The National Parks are waging war on the beetle near Banff, but you won't find clear-cuts like this there. They target beetle infested trees, not forests that might be affected. Our scientists say that even if the beetle does move into the area, they won't survive. The trees are smaller and less juicy than those in B.C.. The worst case scenarios suggest that 30% of the trees could succumb before the beetles die off, as Kananaskis lodgepoles won't sustain the bugs reproduction. A cold winter would kill the beetles, but global warming has created unprecedented favourable conditions for beetle survival.
The Trans Canada Trail, Alberta style
The photo at left shows the Old Baldy Pass/Lusk Pass Trail which is part of the Trans Canada Trail system. The trail has become a logging road where trucks roll over a trail that people have donated funds to dedicate to their loved ones.
How could this happen? It's probably due to the disconnect between the government departments of Sustainable Resource Development and Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture. Does the responsibility of the Trans Canada Trail end when they hang their logo on the trail? Did the Spray Lakes Sawmills bulldozer operator just plow through the Trans Canada Trail sign without thinking?
The important thing to remember is that this is not a protected park = it's Kananaskis; a multi-use area where logging is the primary use.
A clearcut overlooking Barrier Lake. At the stakeholders workshop Spray Lakes Sawmills held in 2003 to announce their intention to prepare a "Detailed Forest Management Plan" for their logging operation, a logger said "There's nothing more beautiful than a clear-cut landscape". I guess that's in the eye of the beholder.
The DFMP was approved in July 2007. Logging in Sibbald began in December, 2007.
Sibbald clearcuts are clearly visible from highway 1 at the Kananaskis Valley exit. This area forms part of Northeastern Kananaskis - the area where we propose to create a park. We hope our campaign will generate sufficient pressure to convince the conservative government to stop the logging and create a park before it's not worth saving. If the government can't do that, we should change the government.
Another pile of fresh-cut logs ready for the mill. Hundreds of thousands of Kananaskis lodgepoles face the same fate every year. Wildlife habitat is wiped out. Contaminants and sediments erode into Calgary's water supply. Precipitation isn't absorbed. Snowmelt cycles change and the likelihood of flooding increases.
Considering the state of the logging industry, we're worried that this operation is a last gasp effort to wring money out of the foothills forest - one that just might fail in the long run. We're not keen to see Spray Lakes fail, but we are determined to get them out of Kananaskis. Once the trees are gone so goes the tourism and recreation industries that rely on Kananaskis to generate revenue. And, what about the real estate values of adjacent properties?
The water in this mud puddle will erode, carrying sediment and nutrients into the river where it will wind up in Calgary's reservoirs. The algae and sediments must be removed in water treatment plants. The cost of this treatment is born by Calgarians. If the forest had been left intact, water flows would be relatively stable and the water that flows out of Kananaskis would be of very high quality; requiring very little expensive treatment.
This trail map is over 4 km up the Lusk Creek trail. We drove there on what is now a logging road. Behind us and all around are clearcuts. Notice the Trans Canada Trail tag on the post. Behind the sign is some of the heavy equipment used to build the road. The photo below shows some of the feller bunchers used to cut the 24-truckloads of logs they haul out daily. They were parked about 20 metres from the sign.