It was refreshing to spend a day in the company of members of the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF) where the bulk of the agenda was about conservation and issues that really matter to fishers and hunters in this richly endowed province of British Columbia.
The Nov. 22 meeting in Parksville was attended by over 30 representatives from throughout Vancouver Island.
Members of “fish and game clubs” have a long history of connecting with the needs of wildlife and nature. This was clearly illustrated by Ted Brookman’s inland fisheries report.
His report covered several fishery matters on the mainland, and covered numerous projects on Vancouver Island such as activities with the Golden Rods and Reels on Elk Lake; Water Management Plan on the Cowichan River, and timely closing of Island rivers to angling during the drought. He closed his report with the observation that we must become more proactive about water and its use in drought conditions.
The Firearms Report expressed concern about some ramifications of the new Liberal governments policies on handguns and assault weapons and their planned actions to get them off our streets.
Dave Parenteau, Chairperson for Region 1, and also chair of the Tidal Waters Committee gave an exhaustive report of the regions correspondence since the last region meeting in May. There were no fewer than 40 pieces of correspondence reported on with informative one line explanations on the contents – well done.
Dave also gave an upbeat report on marine fishing in Region 1 throughout the summer. The sockeye at Alberni never quit biting, we caught more chinook than usual, pink salmon were abundant, lingcod and halibut fishing was good – to sum it up we had a bountiful marine fishery this year.
Jesse Zeeman of the BCWF main office gave an informative talk on his activities on our behalf over the past few weeks. Public access to Crown land is a growing problem in the province. Wealthy people are buying up large parcels of land and effectively blocking access to Crown land that may be closed off due to location of the land.
On the matter of predator control if we are to save threatened caribou herds we must have predator control of timber wolves. Grizzly bear populations must be inventoried and the meat of harvested animals must be used.
Government to tovernment negotiations with First Nations has huge implications for resident anglers and hunters in B.C. and elsewhere. There is a distinct feeling that the government is using a divide and conquer policy when dealing with concerns of residents on these matters. It is very much the policy of the BCWF to work cooperatively with First Nations people. The planned Site C dam on the Peace River will drown about 10,000 moose when the valley is flooded. This is a terrible price to pay for clean power we could get from other sources. It raises the question of who will be able to access outdoor sports in the remaining territory? Zeeman also reported on the growing lack of consideration for biodiversity in the logging practises of the current government. It seems the goal is to get the timber out regardless of other uses of the forest.
The BCWF is one of several citizen groups that are increasingly concerned about the extractive policies of the current government when it comes to dealing with conservation and wise use of our natural resources. We are fortunate to have people like Zeeman in our head office.
There was a brief report on the region 1 Kids Camp and dates were established for 2016.
A request was made by a First Nations representative to have some Roosevelt elk transplanted in an Island location that has no elk at the present but has had elk in the past. It was too late to deal with it this year, but there was general support for the request.
Conservation work is a many sided affair.
Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.