Logging of critical caribou habitat halted, mostly

 | January 4, 2021

Argonaut Creek, home to the North Columbia mountain caribou herd, was threatened by logging until the public pressured the provincial government to press pause on the auction of cutblocks in the drainage north of Revelstoke.

A mountain caribou traverses an alpine ridge in winter. Behind, a large clearcut fragments the subalpine forest just below tree line in the Hart Mountains of British Columbia. | PHOTO David Moskowitz

The B.C. government and B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS) have paused the sale of 276 hectares of logging area and 10 kilometres of forestry road in Argonaut Creek north of Revelstoke after over 1,200 people called on government decision makers and BCTS to cancel the logging.

Tyler Hooper, public affairs officer for the Ministry of Forests, confirmed with The Narwhal that the government has suspended harvesting operations in the Argonaut drainage in response to concerns about the planned logging and road building. 

The suspension will allow further assessments about how harvesting activities might affect caribou in this area.

Meanwhile, 63 hectares of critical habitat adjacent to Argonaut Creek is still on the chopping block but has yet to be auctioned off by BCTS. 

Conservation and policy campaigner Charlotte Dawe wants the remaining blocks and roads to be removed from auction and the Argonaut Creek habitat to be protected, according to a statement. 

“We must ensure the remaining cutblocks in this area are cancelled and Argonaut Creek gets protected under the caribou her planning process,” said Dawes.

Hooper added the government will continue to monitor the caribou population near the Argonaut drainage as part of caribou herd recovery efforts.