“A thing is right when it tends to increase the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community – It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” – Aldo Leopold.
British Columbia Timber Sales decided to proceed with road building and logging into an area designated as part of a connectivity corridor and the last remaining wildlife safe zone outside of the Gladstone Provincial Park.
The decision to proceed with development is based more on meeting timber harvest quotas than safeguarding habitat and wildlife.
Mitigation science, that is what I like to call these so-called practices, will be used to make some alterations to the way in which the road is constructed and a few extra stems per hectare will be retained, (number of trees left in a cut block), to try and minimize disturbance to wildlife. The bottom line is that a road is a road, and roads allow access and an increase in human encounters with wildlife.
Road densities within the Granby grizzly bear population unit (GBPU) is extensive, with 61 per cent of the area having a road density greater than 0.6 km/km2; higher than any other GBPU in the province. Road densities over 0.6 km/km2 are considered to be detrimental to grizzly bears.
Additional road access will also affect already declining mule deer and critically low goat populations.
As a rule, large to midsize carnivores are among the first to drop out of confined wildlife communities such as the GBPU and small safe zones such as the Granby and Gladstone Provincial Parks.
The dispersal or slow disappearance of apex predators like the grizzly bear affects the entire food pyramid.
The loss of these alters the balance and movement patterns of prey species, grazing pressures on vegetation, altering habitats and creating more instability for other species.
The more we chop, road and develop surrounding habitat, the more we isolate existing safe zones of secure habitat. Connectivity and the freedom to roam are critically essential to the long-term sustainability of large carnivores like the grizzly.
Large disconnected islands support smaller populations of wildlife.
Roy Schiesser, Grand Forks