NAKUSP – A controversial logging project has started at Summit Lake near Nakusp despite concerns that the project may impact the western toad population in the area.
The organization behind the project, Nakusp and Area Community Forest Inc. (NACFOR), says they want to minimize the impact on the toads and use the project for further research.
“We want to operate carefully with a small footprint and then study the result,” says NACFOR general manager Hugh Watt. “How would you ever learn what the impact of something is without trying a bit of it carefully?”
So far work has started to clear areas for road construction and build roads for the project. Critics have argued NACFOR doesn’t have enough information to adequately protect the toads.
“I’m fairly confident that NACFOR would try to be careful. However, they are basing it on zero information. They have no information where the toadlets are,” says Debbie Pitaoulis, who lives in the Summit Lake area.
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However, Watt says that is not true and they have been collecting information specifically about toadlets.
“We’ve been collecting that information and we are going to keep on collecting it into the future here. It is part of an ongoing monitoring plan,” says Watt.
Although the project is already underway, Pitaoulis is still hoping that will change and the land will be preserved in some way.
“It comes down to doing the responsible thing and that is leave this very small area alone. Leave it for the toads. Protect it however whether it be through a park or a reserve. It doesn’t really matter at this point. It just should be protected,” she says.
“It is about saving a very special animal.”
However, Watt believes the stakes for the toad are not as high as some argue.
“I think there is another agenda at play to possibly make a park and lock up land and I don’t see that as being a solution at all. I see our approach as being a much better long term solution,” he says.