B.C. Government: SAVE CANADA’S BLACK BEAR DENS AND OLDEST TREES FROM LOGGING
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The Dakota Bear Sanctuary, on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, is a unique ancient forest with some of the oldest trees in Canada, a high density of bear dens, a multitude of historic First Nations culturally modified trees, and it’s part of a community watershed reserve, but it could soon be logged. It must be permanently protected.
What does this forest represent?
· The Dakota Bear Sanctuary provides quality bear habitat for a species that is old growth dependant half the year. It’s estimated that 32 bear dens would be impacted if this forest is logged, as bear dens receive no legal protections here. Dens in large, hollowed out old-growth trees are critical for hibernation, birthing, and cub rearing. Biologist Wayne McCrory states the Sanctuary has so many dens “due to extensive loss of similar habitat in the surrounding region from clearcut logging.” Our bears can’t afford to lose this too.
· Having never been logged, lost to fire or other natural or human disturbance, the ancient forest of the Sanctuary with its many 1000 year-old-plus trees, is intact and irreplaceable. One Yellow-cedar is thought to be 2000 years old, the oldest in Canada. This forest has grown undisturbed since the last ice age and should remain so.
· The entire Sanctuary is a living museum. The large number of culturally modified trees (CMT), 77 documented and counting, prove pre-contact use by the Skwxwú7mesh Nation. They harvested the inner bark of the cedars to.weave into clothing and baskets without killing the trees. The CMTs qualify for protection as provincial heritage sites, but it’s not enough to preserve individual trees while destroying the intact ecosystem they are part of. We have to do better.
· In an age of climate change, intact forests are critical to protecting local water supplies. The Sunshine Coast Regional District apposes logging the Dakota Cr. Community Watershed this forest is part of.
As the recent government sponsored Old-Growth Strategic Review Panel report stated, ancient forests that contain high biodiversity should be first on the list of areas to be immediately protected. The Dakota Bear Sanctuary fully meets their criteria.
We urge the B.C. Provincial government to reach out to the Skwxwú7mesh Nation and work together to find a suitable protection status for this unique and irreplaceable forest.
Thanks for supporting this critical issue!
Watch a short Dakota Bear Sanctuary video: https://youtu.be/Ofxe4UYBcXA
Read the Narwhal article:
Take an audio forest walk:
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