(Editor’s note: this letter was written in response to an article [“Grizzles spotted at Olympic Park”] published in The Question on June 6.)
The sighting of grizzlies in Callaghan Valley does not automatically mean that the population is recovering or as the photographer Coleman stated, “a testament to Olympic Park and their management.”
Human encroachment into the Callaghan Valley undermines the bears’ survival as they need large intact wilderness areas to thrive, which is why I urge the SLRD to reject the proposed expansion of Canadian Wilderness Adventures (CWA) operations in the Callaghan Valley.
Much more action is needed to ensure the threatened Squamish-Lillooet grizzly bears survive, let alone recover. The B.C. government still has not developed a recovery plan for the threatened Squamish-Lillooet grizzly bears, while the growing human population increases (motorized) recreation in the backcountry. Hordes of irresponsible hikers and campers at Keyhole Falls hot springs have habituated a grizzly bear and her cubs to the garbage and food they left behind.
The Minister of Environment recently ordered Innergex, the company responsible for industrializing a huge swathe of grizzly bear habitat in Pemberton Valley, to remove bear attractants. The Sea to Sky’s endless transmission lines and logging roads fragment grizzly bear habitat while the river diversions projects likely impact the salmon and trout the bears eat. In addition, heli-logging in core grizzly bear habitat in the Ryan River area is ongoing.
So please let’s be honest about the status of local grizzly bears. The only way their population will recover is if their habitat is fully and permanently protected from human encroachment, logging and industrialization.