SAVE-THE-CEDAR LEAGUE (STCL) HISTORY AND HIGHLIGHTS
Science-based STCL began 1987, officially incorporated 1992, and is a non-profit, Registered Canadian Charity (1996) based in the Upper Fraser River of the Robson Valley, between the Rocky and Cariboo Mountains of British Columbia, near the towns of Prince George, BC and Jasper, Alberta. Our goal is to protect ecosystems of Ancient Cedar within the world's only Inland Temperate Rainforest because these ecosystems absorb 16-50 times the carbon dioxide of tropical rainforests per hectare and are more economically valuable left standing (Fix Climate by Conserving Nature, 1.5 MB PDF download). This makes the sustainability of Ancient Cedar Rainforests of paramount importance to turn back global warming and climate change, yet scientists say they face extinction from logging in less than 10 years.
We submitted our 39-page revised, scientific report, commissioned by STCL donations and several levels of government. This report documents the scientific and socio-economic reasons why the Walker Rainforest Wilderness (WRW) should be legislated as a new provincial Park by the BC Cabinet. The WRW is currently 80% legally protected by several government agencies, under several different types of legislation, or is unloggable due to landscape conditions. We show how management under one status for this area located directly south of Kakwa Park makes much more sense, and that this management will economically benefit the Region and Province. (9 MB PDF)
STCL's conservation programs and work by communities and First Nations led to the long-awaited legislation in fall 2016 that the Ancient Cedar Forest Trail, plus some 12,000 ha of Ancient Rainforest and Caribou habitat surrounding the Trail are now a New Provincial Park (30,000 acres, 47 sq. mi.)! The Ancient Cedar Trail was the first logging permit ever stopped by public pressure within Robson Valley. It was legally protected as an Old-Growth Management Area (OGMA) since 2008, and now the Trail is part of the new Park with stronger protection than it had the last 8 years. Much of the new Park was already protected as Caribou High Habitat, other OGMAs, and the new Park is attached to Slim Creek Provincial Park. Now, many of the protected OGMAs and Caribou Habitat will become park land, with stronger protection. Many of the controversial Legacy OGMAs, 5000 ha of the most Ancient Cedar stands in Robson Valley, are now protected in the new Park. The new Park includes the largest clump of Ancient Cedar known to exist in Robson Valley called "Primordial Grove" and the new Park is surrounded by hundreds of OGMAs and Caribou High Habitat protected areas which STCL helped protect over the last 18 years. STCL's Rainforest Conservation Corridor (RCC) first proposed 20 years ago is now more than 70% protected from logging and other industrial uses under several different federal and provincial laws (Provincial Parks, Old Growth Management Areas, Mountain Caribou Winter Range, Ungulate Winter Range, etc.), and the new Ancient Cedar Park has added more protected area to our RCC!
STCL purchased many new Ancient Cedar Groves at our headquarters with the help of our ("Adopt An Ancient Cedar Grove Storing Tons of Carbon Program"). These new groves are protected by conservation covenants in perpetuity.
More than 1000 sq. km (390 sq. mi, 250,000 acres) of new endangered Mountain Caribou Reserves surrounding our headquarters were legislated by the BC government. Some of this critical old-growth habitat was legally termed "medium density" caribou habitat that was Ordered to be partially logged since 2003, whereas now this endangered Mountain Caribou habitat instead was protected (Final Mountain Caribou Reserves, 650 KB JPG download). World-unique Ancient Inland Rainforest, high biodiversity, and habitat used by species-at-risk Grizzly Bear, Wolverine, Fisher, and anadromous Chinook Salmon were included. Bowron, Cariboo Mountains, Erg Mountain-Ptarmigan, Slim Creek, Sugar Bowl-Grizzly Den, Wells Grey, and West Twin Parks were effectively increased in size by the legislation.
Critical old-growth habitat for 350 vertebrate species on the Cariboo, Dome, Driscoll, Goat, Kendall, Killam, Milk, Morkill, POB, Ptarmigan, Slim, and Snowshoe watersheds, and more of Bear Paw Ridge were further protected from logging and development by the legislation. The new Reserves connect with several established and proposed Parks, other Old Growth Management Areas, other Caribou Reserves, and Wildlife Habitat Management Areas, further solidifying landscape connectivity for these critical areas. Most of the new Reserves are within our Rainforest Conservation Corridor (2002) and include most of the Upper Cariboo River, increasing the effective size of Bowron Park by 20,745 ha (51,240 acres), almost as proposed by our 2007 Educational Report No. 5 (ER5, see below). Several thousand ha of the Walker Rainforest Wilderness (WRW) within the Morkill watershed were included as requested by: ER5, the Dome Creek Forest Information Committee, the Prince George Backcountry Recreation Society, 17 Inland Temperate Rainforest Organizations, and as requested on the maps in our report: "Response to Government Plans to Abandon Endangered Mountain Caribou Herds, Kill Wolves, Cougars, Bears, Wolverine, Moose, Elk, and Deer, Fall 2005 (2.3 MB PDF download).
Some 900 sq. km (350 sq. mi; 222,000 acres) of new Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs) were legally protected north of Kakwa Park and surrounding Monkman Park on the Belcourt, Imperial, Kinuseo, Murray, Narraway, Red Deer, Redwillow, Sukunka, and Wapiti watersheds (North Kakwa Old Growth Management Areas, 3 MB PDF download). The new OGMAs will protect habitat for grizzly bear, woodland caribou, wolverine, Eastern wood warblers, and many other species. STCL's original Conservation Biology Plan for Robson Valley proposed most of this region be protected in the 1st edition of our Ecoguide published in 1997 (Conservation Biology Plan (275 KB JPG download). A major portion of our 1997 Conservation Plan Map was protected in Kakwa and Monkman Parks in 2000, and in nearby Caribou Reserves in 2003 and 2009, so that now around 60% of our original 1997 conservation biology map is legally protected in that region.
Thousands of some of the oldest and largest cedar trees remaining in the world were called "Legacy Biodiversity Completion" and "Guidance Biodiversity Management" OGMAs near Dome Creek (New Old Growth Management Areas, 1 MB JPG download). These OGMAs were recommended to be legally protected by the Forest Practices Board but the Ministry of Forests branch of government did not follow the recommendation. The Forest Practices Board then recommended that these Legacy OGMAs and all other cedar-hemlock stands in the entire upper Fraser River be placed in a 10-year logging moratorium until the government determines how to manage biodiversity and keep the Rainforest from being at risk of disappearing (625 KB PDF download).
STCL published and distributed several thousand copies of Educational Report No. 6 (ER6), a 50 page color booklet designed by STCL member Carol Fairhurst: "Ecoguide and Conservation Biology Plan for Robson Valley, 2nd Edition." The updated, revised, and enlarged 2nd edition of our 1997 Ecoguide and Conservation Plan now maps new conservation initiatives to complete the network of protected areas within our Rainforest Conservation Corridor (RCC, 2002). It also updates the species checklists, population sizes, and habitats used by 342 birds, mammals, and other vertebrates. The Ecoguide also features a new Conservation Area Design (CAD) GIS map by STCL Director Baden Cross, and new scientific, community, and economic rationales for conservation and sustainability of the Ancient Inland Rainforest and the WRW. STCL was honoured when the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation showed their support of our Conservation Biology Plan within their official territory by authorizing their emblem to be published on our Conservation Map. The Conservation Biology Plan calls for eco-reserve or park equivalent protection status for ALL the remaining Ancient Cedar Inland Rainforest and old growth over 140 years old within our RCC of some 3,000 sq km; some 16,000 sq km (4 million acres) of the RCC has been legally protected since 2000.
"Block 486" was finally protected by government after being proposed for protection for 34 years, after Dome Creek and STCL were featured in the community-based sustainability DVD "Block 486" presented to thousands in many communities and universities throughout BC, and after a coalition of community groups created the associated "Ancient Forest Interpretive Trail" featuring some of the largest known Ancient Cedar trees within our Rainforest Conservation Corridor. This was the first time that an approved cut block was instead protected in the history of Robson Valley. The Ancient Forest Trail attracts 10-15,000 visitors, bringing some $1-2 million into the local economy each year.
A total of 350 sq. km (86,500 acres, 135 sq. mi) of new Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs) were legally protected within STCL's (2002) Rainforest Conservation Corridor (see the map: New Robson OGMAs Light Blue 2006.jpg)! These OGMAs now protect world-unique Ancient Inland Rainforest, old-growth biodiversity, endangered Mountain Caribou, at risk Grizzly Bear, Bull Trout, and anadromous Chinook Salmon habitat (OGMA Biodiversity Background Report 2006.PDF, 900 KB PDF download). Some 60% of STCL’s (2002) original Conservation Biology maps proposed for the 6 Land Units involved became legally protected.
Critical old-growth habitat for 325 vertebrate species on the Fraser, Morkill, Hellroaring, Forget-Me-Not, Cushing, Wallop, LaSalle, Clyde, Catfish, Snowshoe, Saungry, East Twin, Fleet, LeGrand, Goat, and Killam watersheds are now protected from logging and development for the long term (>100 years). The new OGMAs enlarge, connect, and overlap with several established and proposed Provincial Parks, Wildlife Habitat Management Areas, and endangered Mountain Caribou Reserves, further solidifying landscape connectivity for these critical areas. The new 2006 OGMAs and 2003 Mountain Caribou Reserves now connect West Twin Provincial Park in the Cariboo Mountains to sites deep within the Rocky Mountains.
Some 40 sq. km of the Walker Rainforest Wilderness (WRW), proposed by STCL, local Rainforest communities, the Valhalla Wilderness Society, and others were protected with new OGMAs in the Morkill and Forgetmenot Land Units, so that now more than 600 sq. km of the WRW proposal are now legally protected (Walker Rainforest Wilderness OGMAs 2006). The WRW is the largest undeveloped old-growth area with Ancient Inland Rainforest (ICHvk,wk) and anadromous Salmon remaining in the entire, world-unique Inland Temperate Rainforest, outside of Parks. It contains Antique Rainforest, high old-growth biodiversity, and some of the largest Grizzly Bear, Mountain Caribou, Chinook Salmon, and Trout populations in Interior BC. The WRW is also part of the largest contiguous Core Area remaining in the world outside of Parks that maintains viable populations of 7 Premier Focal Species of Conservation Biology (Mountain Caribou, Grizzly Bear, Chinook Salmon, Wolf, Cougar, Wolverine, and Lynx), highlighted in (Craighead and Cross’ 2004 "Inland Rainforest Conservation Area Design", 5 MB download).
STCL's “Morkill-Hellroaring-Forgetmenot Old Growth Strategy” proposal (1988), ordered by government as a “Wildlife Corridor” for 15 years is now more than 60% protected with new OGMAs and endangered Mountain Caribou Reserves (2003). This includes world-class ancient Rainforest, a 20 sq. km Mountain Caribou corridor, 15 key Salmon and Bull-Trout spawning grounds, critical Grizzly Bear habitat, a large portion of the most critical, bottle-neck, travel corridor in Robson Valley for 15 migratory large mammals, Morkill Falls the largest waterfall with the largest Salmon raceway in Robson Valley, Hellroaring Creek Rainforest Falls, STCL's Morkill Ancient Cedar Trail (8 Km long), and magnificent old-growth forest of the highest biodiversity (Morkill OGMAs, MtCaribou Reserves 2006, 10.2 MB PDF download).
A 50 sq. km portion of the world’s only Inland Temperate Rainforest with some of the largest and oldest ancient cedar trees remaining in the BC Interior was included in the new OGMAs near Crescent Spur (Crescent Spur OGMAs 2006, 1.2 MB PDF download). Endangered Mountain Caribou habitat was protected in old growth spruce-balsam OGMAs covering some 200 sq. km, including the calving-grounds for Alberta’s southernmost-remaining, unprotected Caribou herd within the Morkill watershed. The highest-ranking Core Areas within southeastern BC for 7 Focal Species are found within STCL's (2002) Rainforest Conservation Corridor (Craighead and Cross 2004); 60% of these Core Areas are now protected with OGMAs and Caribou Reserves. Additionally, a number of the only known anadromous Salmon streams within the entire Rocky Mountains fished by Rainforest Salmon-Grizzly were protected with new OGMAs (Weaver and Zammuto 2004, 1.5 MB PDF download).
STCL published 35,000 paper copies of Educational Report No 5 (ER5): "A Rainforest Conservation Corridor For Robson Valley: Part 2, 2007" (EdRep5.pdf, 6 MB PDF download). The enlarged Walker Rainforest Wilderness (WRW), the mapping of new Spatial OGMAs, the addition of the Upper Cariboo River to Bowron Park, and other conservation initiatives to raise the amount of protected area were all moved closer to reality by publication of our proposed conservation plan. The report features fine-tune Conservation Area Design (CAD) GIS maps, and scientific, community, and economic rationales for conservation and sustainability of the Ancient Rainforest, WRW, and Upper Cariboo River. The size of the WRW proposal was increased from 900 to 2000 sq. km (775 sq. mi), after the new CAD, scientists, and community partners included the only watershed in Canada (Morkill) with calving-grounds for three federally-provincially recognized at-risk Woodland Caribou sub-populations (Northern, Southern, and Alberta Mountain ecotypes).
We are very pleased to announce that 60% of the Core Conservation Areas and 25 of the 30 Special Ecological Sites (Salmon-spawning grounds, hiking trails, old-growth driving sites, waterfalls and lakes) that STCL's "Ecoguide and Conservation Biology Plan" (1997, Educational Report No. 2) proposed for conservation are now protected from logging and road-building, whereas none of the Core Conservation Areas and only 2 of the 30 Special Ecological Sites and hiking trails were protected before 1997!
A total of 172 sq. km of Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs) was legally established in the Foster, Hugh Allan, Dawson, Canoe, Kiwa, McLennan, Swift, Tete, Bulldog, Dave Henry, Packsaddle, and Yellow-Jacket watersheds, near Mount Robson Park, which effectively increased the Park's size by several thousand hectares. Most of the ancient cedar stands remaining in each of these watersheds were legally protected from logging. Large portions of STCL’s original Conservation Biology maps proposed for the 8 Land Units involved became protected. A 40 sq. km portion of the world’s only Inland Temperate Rainforest with some of the oldest and largest ancient cedar trees remaining in the BC Interior were included in the new OGMAs. Included was key ancient Inland Rainforest, the old growth surrounding the Fraser River Salmon spawning and rearing channels near Tete Jaune known as the Oyster, most of the magnificent Bulldog Creek Canyon old growth, most of the remaining old growth along the shoreline of Canoe Lake, and known old growth denning areas for grizzly bear, wolf, and lynx. Mount Robson Park was more or less connected by several protected contiguous corridors with the upper Columbia River (also known as Kinbasket L. or Canoe L.)
A new government Order (Biodiversity Order.PDF, 550 KB PDF download), protected 1000 sq. km of new OGMAs (Old Growth Management Areas) between Sugar Bowl/Grizzly Den, Kakwa, and Ptarmigan Creek/Erg Mountain Parks, including more of the Morkill River, and the Upper Walker, Holy Cross, Slim, Dome, Humbug, Ptarmigan, and Driscoll Creeks (Biodiversity Order Background Report.PDF, 1 MB PDF download). More than 53% of the original ICHvk,wk Rainforest and most of the Mountain Caribou habitat was ordered legally protected within these and other watersheds, all within STCL's Rainforest Conservation Corridor (2002). STCL's successful proposals with local Rainforest Communities, The David Suzuki Foundation, The Valhalla Wilderness Society, The Wildlife Conservation Society, and many others now total 7,692 sq. km legally protected since 2002 (STCL Rainforest Corridor 2002 to 2004.jpg), and total 12,142 sq. km throughout the Prince George Region since 2000, larger than Jasper National Park!
Carnivore biologist Dr. Lance Craighead and GIS analyst and STCL Director Baden Cross completed their Valhalla Wilderness Society report: A CONSERVATION AREA DESIGN (CAD) for the INLAND TEMPERATE RAINFOREST of CANADA (Inland Rainforest CAD.PDF, 5.3 MB PDF download). The report documents that the Slim, Dome, Walker, Morkill, Holy Cross, Humbug, Wallop, LaSalle, Ptarmigan, and Kendal Rainforest watersheds, and Bearpaw Ridge, contain most of the highest-ranking "Core Area/Connectivity" scores within the entire BC Inland Rainforest outside of parks. Most of these watersheds are the same watersheds for which Drs. John Weaver and Rick Zammuto documented that: "The Robson Valley...appears to be the only place in the Rocky Mountains where grizzly bears still feed on anadromous Chinook Salmon." (GRIZZLY BEARS AND CHINOOK SALMON in the INLAND RAINFOREST report, 2004, SalmonGrizzly.PDF, 1.5 MB PDF download).
The best opportunity to maintain viable populations of grizzly bear, mountain caribou, cougar, gray wolf, wolverine, and lynx exists in the darkest purple areas in the northern portion of the attached Inland Rainforest map (Craighead and Cross 2004): STCL Rainforest Corridor and Conservation Area Design Overlay.jpg. STCL's Rainforest Corridor (2002) is the blue overlay on this map, the darkest purple there contains the "Walker Wilderness", the largest undeveloped watershed-cluster remaining in the entire Upper Fraser River outside of parks at 900 sq. km, and a major focus for protection during 2005-06.
Collaborative work among STCL, local communities, other organizations, scientists, and many individuals resulted in a total of 6,252 sq. km (625,145 ha, 1,544,108 acres, 2,413 sq. mi) of Endangered Mountain Caribou habitat to become legally protected winter range (Caribou Reserves.PDF, 1.4 MB PDF download)! In short, habitat for more than 20 mountain caribou herds is now legally protected by law (Mt Caribou Winter Surveys.PDF, 200 KB PDF download). Additionally, 269 sq. km (104 sq. mi, 66,443 acres) of some of the most biologically-significant ancient Rainforest in the region were legally protected as "Old Growth Management Areas" (OGMAs), including more than 150 Antique Rainforests (OGMA Background Report.PDF, 600 KB PDF download)! Several new protected areas of old growth forest, spanning 5-800 sq. km each, now protect the habitats of mountain caribou, grizzly bear, wolverine, salmon, bull trout, 275 bird species, 60 other mammal species, and habitat of high general biodiversity.
The total size of the new protected area of 652,000 ha is larger than Delaware! Kakwa, Bowron, West Twin, and Sugar Bowl/Grizzly Den Parks, all created with the help of STCL (2000), were each effectively doubled in size, and are now all connected together through several protected, cross-valley corridors. The 500 sq. km Bearpaw Ridge Grizzly Viewing Area, where 25 Rainforest Grizzly Bears have been watched feeding over a weekend, was almost entirely protected as Caribou habitat. Many thousands of some of the world’s oldest and largest trees, ancient Inland Rainforest, and prime Mountain Caribou habitat were protected from logging, conserving this unique ecosystem and its high biodiversity for future generations.
LOWER GOAT RIVER IN WEST TWIN PARK (protected 2000), WITH MT RIDER MOUNTAIN CARIBOU HABITAT IN BACKGROUND (protected 2003-2009). Photo Courtesy Paul W. Morgan.
Educational Report Number 4, "Rainforest Conservation Corridor for Robson Valley," with our conservation message, Conservation Biology principles, and grizzly population status report, was published and 35,000 copies distributed. The report stimulated many more to seek protection for our proposed Rainforest Corridor, and it was instrumental in the protection of Mountain Caribou Habitat and Old Growth Management Areas that were protected shortly after its publication. Our report proposed connectivity among several existing parks, using the home ranges of all the Robson Valley Rainforest grizzly bears and mountain caribou that remain.
We increased public support for conservation and increased the scientific understanding of the remarkable grizzly bear gathering within STCL’s Rainforest Corridor near Red Mountain on Bearpaw Ridge, by carrying out investigative work of collecting samples and data, providing important ecological information and rationale for protection, and by broadcasting a documentary newscast on ABC TV. This world-unique area was protected from logging, road building, and many other human disturbances in 2003 (Caribou Reserves.PDF, 1.4 MB PDF download), resulting from STCL's collaborative work with local communities, other conservation groups, the public, and government.
We helped create 4,450 sq. km (1.1 million acres) of new Provincial Parks and Ecological Reserves throughout the greater Prince George Region, including the West Twin Park wildlife corridor, connecting Bowron Provincial Park in the Western Cariboo Mountains with the Rocky Mountains 50 km East, establishing the only Provincial Park crossing the Fraser River Valley in the region.
Carried out research with the Wildlife Conservation Society to determine the grizzly bear’s use of ancient Rainforest, salmon, and cross-valley corridors in Robson Valley ("Salmon Grizzly" 1.6 MB PDF download). This research led to the scientific finding that the Robson Valley is the last place grizzly bears still feed on wild ocean-going salmon in all the Rocky Mountains of North America. Several critical wildlife corridors were protected in 2002-2006 as a direct result of this research.
Hosted the first two Inland Rainforest Working Group conferences in collaboration with the Valhalla Wilderness Society. Published "Age and Species Composition of Forests, Grizzly and Other Species Densities, Wilderness Watersheds, and Threats to Y2Y in British Columbia, Save-The-Cedar League Educational Report No. 3 (1998)" (EdRep3.PDF, 1 MB download) in 1998, "Robson Valley Ecoguide and Conservation Plan" with biodiversity, habitats, vertebrate population index, and special ecological sites of the ancient Rainforest in 1997, and "Bridge The Island Parks With Ancient Rainforest Biodiversity" in 1996. This was the first publication to inform the public of the existence of the Ancient Inland Rainforest and its rich biodiversity within Robson Valley.
We helped protect 4,437 sq. km (1.1 million acres) of old growth forest containing outstanding biodiversity, millions of Sockeye and Chinook Salmon, grizzly bear, caribou, wolverine, bull trout, and habitat for other key species for Chilko Lake, Cariboo Mountains, and Herrick Creek.
Participated in many processes throughout North America that were concerned with conservation (Old Growth Strategy Bibliography 1991, 27 MB PDF download"; "Old-Growth, Parks and Wilderness 90's, falldown effect, and the total collapse of B.C. Forestry 1992, 560 KB PDF download"; "RV and PG LRMPs BCEN Report 1994.htm"; "Robson Valley Rainforest Threatened 1997.htm"). Carried out several wildlife habitat restoration projects with local communities, government, and Native Nations to restore habitat removed by settlement and logging throughout Robson Valley ("Restoration 10-Year Summary 1988-98"). Carried out several tree-planting projects resulting in more than 100,000 seedlings of mixed species planted, to enhance wildlife habitat, and to understand the survival and growth rates of seedlings planted under various amounts of forest cover (Clearcuts and Seedlings 1993, 400 KB PDF download).