A group of Foothills residents are raising their concerns over plans for clear cutting near the Highwood Junction.
Members of the Diamond Willow Hiking Group first noticed flagging in the area last winter and after looking into it found out Balcaen Consolidated Contracting Ltd. plans to begin logging near the Highwood Junction, including areas near Highway 541 along Highway 940.
Neil Williams, Spokesperson for Take A Stand For Kananaskis and The Upper Highwood, says members are concerned about the economic, and environmental impacts of clear cutting the area.
"We have done some research on operating ground rules on forestry when they do a harvest, one of the rules is not to be in a highly visual area that will impact tourism," he says. "It's also designated as a critical wildlife corridor by Alberta Parks. It's also one of the top three drivable roads in Canada through the Highwood Pass following the river down to the Junction. We just feel it will impact our tourism, and economic development for our Cool Little Towns, I don't think any roads that have a clear cutting along them are a prime destination for tourism, and people who want to see the wildlands."
Williams adds the cutting is being done on the East slopes of the Rocky Mountains, and he's concerned the operation could also affect the watershed.
He shares Take A Stand For Kananaskis and The Upper Highwood has garnered support from local municipalities.
"We've approached the Municipal Council in Longview, Black Diamond, and Turner Valley and we have their support, they have passed a resolution to approach the province and the Premier. We've also approached the Okotoks council and they have voted to support us too, we'll now be approaching the town of High River."
The group has also supported by Yellowstone to Yukon, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and the Outdoor Recreation Council of Alberta.
Williams stresses the group is not against the logging industry, understanding it is a necessary practice.
"We understand logging but we don't understand why they want to do it there, we want to protect the watershed, wildlife, and tourism."
Balcaen Consolidated Contracting plans for work to begin in August, building access roads for the operation, and for logging to begin in the winter.
To learn more about Take A Stand For Kananaskis and The Upper Highwood click here.
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