Lorna Visser,VFE Director
"Almost total failure and back-peddling" Land Champion calls out paucity of protection in BC
Updated: Oct 31, 2022
BC's Land Champion Wayne McCrory calls on the BC government to protect at least 50% of the provincial land base including adequate old-growth... to mitigate climate chaos and the collapse of biodiversity
Professional biologist, conservationist and environmental advocate Wayne McCrory was honoured by the Real Estate Foundation of BC with its prestigious 2022 Land Champion Award. The award was presented on June 9 at a Gala Ceremony in New Westminster, in recognition of McCrory’s significant contribution to the protection of wilderness and wildlife in BC. He used the occasion to call on the BC government to adequately protect old-growth forests and other vital ecosystems.
[ Wayne McCrory admiring two huge old-growth cedars... as always, carrying bear spray. ]
He expressed great disappointment with the current BC government’s failure to create adequate new parks and protected areas. “It’s almost been a total failure and back-peddling” McCrory stated.
“Back several elections ago, NDP Premier John Horgan promised to protect as much of the province as was protected in the Great Bear Rainforest. This would mean full protection of at least 37% plus much improved ecosystem-based logging. Instead, it’s been log, log and log. Simply sticking to 14% in parks is far too little. There’s now a huge body of science that says we need to protect 50% of ecosystems."
The Valhalla Wilderness Society has three long-standing and well-researched provincial park proposals in the Inland Temperate Rainforest. “All we have had from government is the painful witnessing of the ongoing clear-cutting of some key old-growth areas where we have protection proposals, including in endangered mountain caribou winter habitat. This, despite huge public support for protection."
Some months ago in a telecom meeting on their Inland Temperate Rainforest park proposals, George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, told VWS that the 14% of the land base protected in the 1995 land use plan was all government was going to protect.
“For the BC government to rest on the laurels of a decades-old, outdated land use plan that turned over most of the land base to logging companies -- and to ignore the significant science supporting much more protection in face of our climate and biodiversity crisis -- is totally irresponsible,” said McCrory.
Wayne’s collaboration with his Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS) colleagues and many others including First Nations has led to the protection of over 560,000 hectares of BC. As one of the founding directors of the Valhalla Wilderness Society (more information at www.vws.org), Wayne helped spearhead campaigns for the Khutzeymateen and Spirit Bear protected areas, as well as Goat Range Provincial Park. He was part of the VWS team that successfully advocated for Valhalla Provincial Park. He has also created and managed research and protection programs for at-risk Western Toad populations at Fish Lake, Summit Lake and Beaver Lake.
Wayne was also a founder of the Valhalla Foundation for Ecology, a conservation land trust. McCrory and his partner, fellow activist Lorna Visser, brought about the acquisition of a number of private land parcels with wetlands and other high ecological values.
In addition, he has worked extensively with a number of First Nations. He initiated the grizzly bear viewing programs for First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest, and his independent research supported the Tsilhqot’in Nation in creating a large wild horse preserve and a large Tribal protected area.
[Abridged from a Valhalla Wilderness Society media release]