LETHBRIDGE- It’s a view Gordon Groom won’t soon forget – his favorite vacation spot transformed into a logging site.
He has been coming to the Honey Coulee near the Crowsnest Pass for the last 40 years. The area recently was taken over by Spray Lakes Sawmill as a harvesting site for lumber.
“We never ever in our wildest dreams ever thought this would happen in this area. When I see the forestry destroyed it just makes me feel ill,” said Groom.
Since the company began logging, Groom claims they have allowed slip and top soil to seep into Willow Creek, which has affected the trout stream. He also says they have devastated the habitat of deer and moose in the area.
“We’re concerned about the spawning ground of the cutthroat trout. We’re concerned about the moose and the elk calving grounds that they have destroyed up on the hill.”
The Alberta government says it can’t determine at this point whether Spray Lakes has violated any logging practices. However, they do plan to carry out a certified inspection once harvesting is completed.
Tim Juhlin is a forest ranger with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. He says it’s beneficial to wildlife to have a natural disturbance – something that logging actually helps with.
“We’re trying to go into this area, make a fairly significant disturbance and then stay out of there for many years. So it could be 30 years or 40 years before we go back.”
The creek is another story. Juhlin says he can’t comment on whether the trout stream has been impacted.
In a statement to Global News, Spray Lakes says it has met all its legislative, policy and operating requirements. They say they’re committed to reforest the area and protect the water and wildlife habitat.
“Timber harvesting is planned and regulated to be sustainable.
We can assure you that SLS strives to meet or exceed all legislative, policy and operating requirements and are very committed to reforesting our harvest areas, protecting water quality and enhancing wildlife habitat.”