Cochrane forestry company Spray Lake Sawmills (SLS) has been ordered by the province to stop logging in the Castle wilderness area following the first stage of the their harvesting plan.
SLS woodlands manager Ed Kulcsar said that they respect the decision of the Alberta government and that his company will work toward completion of the first round of harvesting before fully reclaiming the access road and waiting to hear of the outcome of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP).
“The forests of southwest Alberta, including the Castle region, have developed over time in response to frequent natural disturbances, primarily fir,” said Kulcsar. “SLS has a strong environmental record and commitment to sustainable resources use and believes timber harvesting is an important forest management tool for maintaining multiple forest values across the landscape.”
The SSRP is a land-use strategy for the large area of forest from north of Calgary to the U.S. border.
SLS’s presence in the Castle area has been a point of contention for some time, with various advocacy groups, such as the Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition, fighting to stop the company from logging in the area and calling for the region to be designated as a park or wildland.
“Forest management deals with long time lines,” said Kulcsar, “more than 20 years at a time, so certainty is key to our business planning. The SSRP should provide the necessary certainty.”
SLS is permitted to log 50,000 cubic metres of forest in the first stage of their Castle harvesting plan.