To Ross Muirhead of Elphinstone Logging Focus (“A rational response,” Letters, Nov. 10):
It seems to me self evident that the reason our Forest District has not established Ungulate Winter Ranges for elk on the Sunshine Coast is that we do not have the “severe winter conditions” in which “a population can die off.” Our climate is considerably milder than the Kootenays or North Central Vancouver Island where such ranges have been established. The 2004 Provincial Order you have referenced only says winter ranges may be required, so it is not unreasonable that forestry and wildlife officials have not prioritized the studies you referenced for this more temperate area.
Since 2004, over 300 elk have been translocated from the Sunshine Coast to other areas, according to the 2015 Elk Management Plan. Again it seems evident that this wouldn’t take place if there were any concerns of their viability in our area.
All that being said, if you have concerns about the elk, please take them up with the relevant provincial authorities. The Community Forest will continue to follow all the rules, regulations and directives that we operate under.
I get that your group are passionate advocates for a greatly (over 10 times) expanded Mt. Elphinstone Provincial Park. You should recall, however, that the previous government declared that they had no intention of increasing the size of the park. I urge you to direct your advocacy to the new ministers responsible for parks and forestry. If our new government wants to create a park in our tenure or wants us not to log in an area, we would obviously respect their decision. I hope you will respect any decision they make also.
Sent with permission of SCCF Chair.
Geoff Craig, Director, Sunshine Coast Community Forest