Province’s caribou plan threatens forestry restart in the Northern Rockies
By Bronwyn Scott
The economic viability of the Northern Rockies hangs in the balance as the province’s new push to protect boreal caribou impedes the region’s planned rejuvenation of its forestry industry. The province has launched a draft Boreal Caribou Implementation Plan, which protects vast swaths of forest, including areas the regional municipality had targeted for timber harvesting, and where locals say caribou don’t live. “I’m speaking to you from a community that, quite honestly, without exaggeration in many ways is fighting for its economic life,” said Mike Gilbert, community development officer for the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM). … “There is the potential for a significant impact on our ability to restart the forest industry here because certain areas that would be excluded (from harvesting under the plan) would really make it difficult for industry to re-establish, just because of where they’re located,” Gilbert said.