Park needed to protect unique ecosystem

I call upon people with more inclusive and long-term views to once again make their support for the park clear to the B.C. government

Mr. Marven’s information on wildlife in the Rockies national parks, especially the ‘problem’ of elk at Banff, is sadly skewed according to scientific studies I’ve read. Contrary to his assertion that elk populations are out of control, it’s human activity that created the situation.

The Bow River Valley has been a major wintering ground for elk and their predators for long before the Banff townsite and mass tourism were ever conceived of. The “over population” he huffs about is simply the animals congregating where snow is lower and food more available than in the mountains. His assertion as to the over-population of “other animals”, too, is contradicted by any study I’ve read.

The elk are certainly not ‘domesticated’, as anyone stupid enough to approach them quickly discovers. They are wild animals living in difficult conditions made more difficult by human intrusions. The sad part is that the elk and other animals suffer because our society has little regard for their needs when they conflict with our desires.

Mr. Marven attempts to equate the Banff situation with the one here, but in the seven-plus years, we have heard nothing of plans to build a town in the middle of the proposed national park area. Oliver, Osoyoos and Penticton are sufficient, and Keremeos if more sober business-minded heads prevail. There are also no large congregations of wintering animals in the lower elevations of this area as in the Rockies. Mr. Marven is once again dragging a bright-red herring across the path.

His personal agenda is clear in his comment that First Nations will be able to hunt in the national park whereas he won’t. He also admits that the latter’s hunting will keep animal numbers down, but doesn’t acknowledge that this negates the No group’s ‘over-population’ argument. One must decide which argument to support; one can’t have it both ways.

Apropos of the helicopters, as noted in my previous letter, blind paranoia does not respond to reason, so I’ll not comment further on Mr. Marven’s dire warnings.

He is very free with his ‘this and that isn’t true’ with no supporting evidence. Like it or not, the petition was signed by at least 8,000 South Okanagan/Similkameen residents, and the poll was strictly of locals. Unfortunately, the current B.C. government seems as susceptible to wishful thinking (or pressures) about lack of local support as Mr. Marven and his ilk.

I would be most interested to know what “current work on protected areas” has been stalled by the park proposal. The Liberal government’s systematic dismantling of B.C. Parks staff and resources (currently fewer than one Parks staff member per park) has left these dedicated people with little capability to do anything in the protected areas. It’s laughable also to hear constantly from the No people about the wonders of these areas since they opposed their creation during the LRMP process. The parochialism and short-term thinking displayed is mind-boggling.

The national park is for Canadians and to protect a unique and highly threatened ecosystem. I call upon people with more inclusive and long-term views to once again make their support for the park clear to the B.C. government and counter the special interests that would derail this grand project.

Eva Durance

 

Penticton