One of the biggest driving forces behind predator friendly ranching is the love and excitement of seeing and having wildlife in our back yard.
My heart beats a little quicker when I see the deer, an owl, a wolf track or when I hear the coyotes howl and yip at night.
Not only do I love this, but thousands of tourists flock to Canada ever year to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, the lakes, the prairies, the bears, moose and wolves.
Canada loves to promote their parks internationally,
they even make postage stamps of the iconic Canadian wildlife, that's how important it is to the tourist industry!
However, it is not always as wonderful as it looks.
Many conservationists, biologists and fellow wildlife lovers are trying to work towards things like buffer zones around parks, better education and looking for ways for people and wildlife to co-exist together.
One of these people is Gary Allen.
Gary uses his wolf hybrids as teaching tools,
he travels to schools to educate children about wolves, wildlife and environmental issues.
Gary has agreed to be a guest blogger on this blog , and will contribute occasionally pieces for my blog.
I am really looking forward to this, I believe it not only broadens my view on things but also provides for interesting reading.
With his permission, I have posted a blog he wrote in 2009. Despite the fact that this is almost two years ago, the issues he writes about are still current...
nothing has changed.
Don't Pick the Flowers but Killing is OK
by Gary Allen
In a large Provincial Park of BC, a park ranger observes two people from his vantage point high up on a ridge in the alpine. He observes one person picking the alpine flowers which are in full bloom. The silence of the alpine environment is violently disturbed as the hunter takes down a grizzly bear (during an open hunting season).
The park ranger approaches the park visitor holding the alpine flowers and issues this person a violation ticket under Section 9 of the Park Act. No ticket violation is issued to the hunter.
Section 9 is titled Natural Resources Protected but this section does not apply to wildlife being hunted & trapped in BC Provincial Parks, Recreation Areas or Conservancies. In the Regulations, Division 6, Section 32(1), prohibited activity is defined. A person must not;
a) damage or destroy any natural resources or property in a park, conservancy or recreation area
b) possess any natural resource or property of a park, conservancy or recreation area
c) remove any natural resource or property from a park, conservancy or recreation area.
Subsection (2) exempts wildlife under this regulation.
I agree that flowers & other natural resources should not be damaged, destroyed, possessed or removed from a park, conservancy or recreation area. But how absurd is this law & policy when it does not apply to wildlife?
Most BC residents I have consulted along with politicians are surprised and dismayed that hunting & trapping are allowed in BC Parks, Conservancies & Recreation Areas. Steve Thomson, Minister of Environment, states in a Oct. 2/2008 letter to me that these hunting & trapping activities are the result of public consultation through Land Use Planning processes & subsequent Park Management Plans.
What this means is the local & regional consultation included submissions from the local rod & gun clubs, hunting groups advocating their right to hunt & trap in the parks in their region. These parks, conservancies, & recreation areas belong to all BC residents & the many visitors outside of BC who visit our parks. These people want to observe wildlife in these protected areas & not see the peace & tranquility of the park violated by hunters & trappers, who are killing the precious wildlife.
These local residents do not have the authority to use this Land Use Planning process to impose their local will upon the majority of BC residents who want these parks protected from hunting & trapping. Canada's National Parks do not allow any hunting & trapping because all Canadians want to protect all natural resources in these parks. The few residents of Banff & Jasper do not dictate to the Federal Government to allow them to hunt or trap in Banff National Park or Jasper National Park. So why can a very small group of BC residents impose their will upon the vast majority of BC residents? Because we let them!
Mr Thomson states that 250 BC Parks are closed to hunting & trapping. I researched the BC Parks website & the BC Hunting & Trapping regulations to see which parks are open to hunting & trapping. The 250 parks that Steve Thomson refers to are very small parks, many of which are near large populated areas where there is no wildlife. These parks would include Alice Lake, a popular campground near Squamish & Cultus Lake. It is ridiculous & misleading to promote these parks being closed to hunting & trapping because public safety would be seriously compromised & these parks have not seen any wildlife for decades.
What Steve Thomson is hiding is the fact that most large Provincial Parks are open to hunting & trapping. These parks contain most of the wildlife & this list includes Manning Park, Stratchona Park, Wells Gray Park, Tweedsmuir Park & Spatsizi Wilderness Park just to name a few. On my blog, my letter dated Oct. 31, 2008 challenges Steve Thomson's misleading statements. Over 90% of Northern BC Provincial Parks, Conservancies & Recreation Areas allow hunting & trapping to occur. The southern half of the province is not any better.
Here are three notable, illogical situations which allow hunting & trapping in these parks.
Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park is sandwiched between Kootenay National Park on the west & Banff National Park on the east. As stated earlier, there is no hunting & trapping in National Parks. But if wildlife moves from these protected federal lands into Mt. Assiniboine Park, they can & are being killed. How absurd is that to have an unprotected area between two protected areas? Wildlife does not understand boundaries of safety & harm. Why would the Provincial Government not ban hunting & trapping in Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park? This brings up the topic of having larger buffer zones around National Parks to fully protect the wildlife that uses their habitat outside the boundaries of National Parks.
Khutzeymateen Park is a grizzly bear sanctuary where they are protected from hunting & trapping. However, hunting is allowed in this park above 1,000 meters. How can this park be a sanctuary when hunters either hike through the park to reach this altitude of above 1,000 meters or planes & helicopters are flying these hunters in there disturbing the grizzly bears? Not to mention the gun shots which would frighten the grizzly bears? Why can't the Provincial Government state there is no hunting & trapping in Khutzeymateen Park?
Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park contains an Ecological Reserve at Gladys Lake which is in the middle of the park. There is no hunting & trapping allowed in Ecological Reserves but there is hunting & trapping allowed in the rest of the Spatsizi. Again, wildlife does not recognize artificial boundaries.
Many more visitors to our parks, conservancies, recreation areas are using these areas during the Fall, Winter & Spring when hunting & trapping take place. These visitors are under the illusion that they are safe in these parks from these activities and it will be only a matter of time before they are seriously injured or killed from these activities while recreating in our parks.
I think most BC residents are shocked when they find out that hunting & trapping is so extensive in our Provincial Parks, Conservancies & Recreation Areas. These areas should be completely off limits to hunters & trappers so the wildlife has a safe refuge.
Steve Thomson , you protect the flowers by legislation & regulation, why not the same protection for wildlife?