Construction of roads for a controversial logging project near Nakusp has already begun, but critics are still hoping to see the harvesting plan scrapped.
They are worried that the logging near Summit Lake will kill western toads.
“We have a lot of video and picture documentation that actually shows that this entire habitat is being used by these toads,” said Summit Lake resident Debbie Pitaoulis.
The amphibians are well known for their mass migrations and the star attraction at the area’s annual Toadfest.
“You see the size of these tiny toads, what chance does it have with hundred-pound logs?” said Valhalla Wilderness Society director Craig Pettitt.
Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR), an organization owned by the Village of Nakusp, is behind the project.
NACFOR General Manager Hugh Watt defends the project.
“It is a relatively small amount of that landscape that is being logged. The logging over the longer period actually provides some diversity there of habitat. I don’t think it is by any means a bad thing. I think it is a good thing. It is part of a renewal process of a forest,” said Watt.
Watt says precautions are being taken to protect toads and toad habitat during logging road construction and within the planned cut blocks.
“Within our cut blocks there [are] reserve areas: there [are] larger wildlife tree patches and then there [are] smaller habitat features that have been identified and marked off which will not be cut,” said Watt.
However, critics believe the project shouldn’t go ahead at all.
“We feel it will do major damage to this population,” said Pettitt.
NACFOR says it does not plan to start logging cut blocks until late fall or winter at the earliest.
That is when the toads are more likely to be hibernating and it is considered to be a much safer time to log.
Pitaoulis would like to see a different patch of land granted to NACFOR for logging. However, the forestry group says it would simply face different issues if logging moves elsewhere.