Babine River Foundation

Request to Government

OUR REQUEST TO GOVERNMENT

The following section contains the full text of our request presented to government. We are presenting this information in it’s entirety as there has been much speculation and considerable misunderstanding regarding what the Babine River Foundation is asking for. It is our sincerest wish that the following brief clarifies our position.

In December of 2002, the Babine River Foundation presented a brief to government requesting essentially 3 items:

1. Increasing the protective buffer around the Babine River.

This request was rejected by government and the local Smithers Community Resources Board. The BRF still supports this request for all the reasons stated in our blue book, but we are not actively seeking or lobbying for the completion of this request at the present time. We are still very concerned that the Special Management Zone adjacent to the existing Babine River Corridor park is still threatened with plans for too much logging and road development. In regards to the ongoing Pine Beetle epidemic, the BRD has further concerns that the buffer (which is essentially the Special Management Zone) will be the subject of intense future development in the name of the Pine Beetle. An example of immediate concern is Grizzly Drop, a location on the Babine River of international significance concerning grizzly bears feeding on salmon (much like McNeill River Falls in Alaska).

Although there has been some government and community resource board support for increasing the protective buffer through the recent west Babine LRMP, the south side of the Babine River has received no increased protection which is a second major concern to the BRF, and an example of the failure to increase the protective buffer request. There are a number of watersheds contained on the south side of the Babine River that are extremely significant to the steelhead fishery of the Babine or have not been assessed to date. In short, the BRD still believes that the Babine River corridor needs further protection and buffer to the existing class A provincial park contained t herein.

2. Creation of public/private partnerships.

This was partially achieved through the creation of the Babine Watershed Monitoring Trust, of which Richard Overstall is on the board of trustees. Having Richard as trustee does not mean that the BRF has any direct influence on the functioning of the trust. In fact, the BRF cannot influence how and what the trust does in any way so there is an independent relationship between the two entities. But the BRF does donate annually to the trust approximately $25,000, and the BC government donates one dollar for every two dollars donated to the trust; therein lays the partnership.

3. Creation of an environmental, social, political and economic example that will serve as a prototype for other areas where similar competing interests conflict, and where new explanations are needed to solve old problems.

In our briefing note we have tried to highlight why we think wilderness tourism on the Babine River is vulnerable from the impacts of surrounding industrial forestry. It is true that there will be a continued sports fishery on the Babine even as the resource values are degraded. However, the value of the resource is a relative one. As the resource is degraded, so is the value. The more pristine and remote the sports fishing opportunity is, the higher the value.
In our brief we have compared the economic value of wilderness tourism within the Babine River Corridor Park to the value of logging in the Special Management Zone that directly abuts the park. We have done this to show the cost of additional protection of the Babine River.
Since December of 2002, we have continued to work with government to achieve our objectives within the context of the West Babine Sustainable Resource Management Planning process. We are making progress and believe that our input is influencing the plan.