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pas recommend

Twenty-four areas totalling 138,000 ha., including 2,600 ha. in the Callaghan Lake area, have been recommended to the province for protection, but as with most committee decisions, no one is entirely happy. "What we want from a visual perspective is (the protection of) 19 Mile and 21 Mile," said MLA Ted Nebbeling. The 19 Mile and 21 Mile Creek areas, above Alpine Meadows and on the Rainbow Lake Trail respectively, were proposed as protected areas under the so-called Mayors’ Option. If they are not protected they could be subject to logging, although Squamish District Forest Manager Paul Kuster said 21 Mile is unlikely ever to be logged and there are no immediate plans for 19 Mile. For the past 14 months the Lower Mainland Regional Public Advisory Committee has been studying areas proposed for inclusion in the government’s Protected Areas Strategy, which aims to protect a total of 13 per cent of the land in the Lower Mainland region. The 138,000 ha. recommended by the committee are on top of the 444,000 ha. of existing parks and protected lands in the region and would bring the total area protected to 14 per cent of the Lower Mainland region. Cabinet must still approve the recommendations. To offset potential job losses through the PAS, the committee is recommending that all lands outside of protected areas be designated as forest land reserve; in other words, they could be subject to logging. Kuster said if the government accepts the recommendations of the committee then the protected area process for the Sea to Sky region will have been concluded. That means that other areas that were being considered as Spotted Owl Conservation Areas, such as the Jane Lakes area, will not be protected. The other areas in the Sea to Sky corridor recommended for protection are 6,140 ha. at Sockeye Creek, part of a spotted owl conservation area at the top end of the so-called Randy Stoltmann Wilderness; 10,230 ha. in the Tantalus range, which is also part of spotted owl conservation area; and a 550 ha. Brackendale Eagle Reserve. The Western Canada Wilderness Committee, which has been campaigning for protection of the entire 260,000 ha. Stoltmann Wilderness, declared "War in the woods looms in the Lower Mainland," following the committee’s recommendations. "The RPAC has recommended that the Sims, Elaho, Salal, Pebble and North Valleys be clearcut logged," WCWC campaign co-ordinator Joe Foy said in a press release. "We intend to fight these recommendations with everything we can throw at them." Meanwhile, the recommendation of the Upper Callaghan Valley as a protected area surprised Nebbeling, although he was pleased. Mayor Nebbeling told Whistler council last week that he expected the committee would not include the Callaghan, 19 Mile or 21 Mile in its recommendations. He said one committee member told him Whistler would make so much noise over the omissions it would be politically impossible for anyone to log them and the areas would, in effect, be protected. Terminal Forest Products did some preliminary plans for logging in the upper 19 Mile Creek area a few years ago, but Kuster admitted the area is too controversial to log, at least for the time being. "It’s been put on hold until the PAS is done," Kuster said. Access to the site would have to be through Alpine Meadows, the privately-held Rainbow lands or from an area south of Alpine Meadows. "If we were to consider something for 19 Mile it would have to go through a detailed planning process, but nothing is imminent," Kuster said. The 21 Mile Creek area is unlikely to be logged because it is a watershed, a recreational area and the forest service has spent time and money improving the trail to Rainbow Lake. While the Callaghan Lake area is recommended for protection there was no indication of whether it should be designated a park or given some other status.