Alberta's Little Smoky Caribou Herd Gets Reprieve From Forest Industry Player

Alberta Wilderness Association
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Edmonton Chapter

News Release: March 10, 2005

Alberta conservation groups have received
information from Canadian Forest Products
(Canfor) that they will defer logging activities
in the Little Smoky caribou herd range located
north west of Hinton. Alberta Wildernesses
Association (AWA) and The Canadian Parks
and Wilderness Society- Edmonton Chapter
(CPAWS) are very encouraged by this decision.

"We are very pleased that Canfor shares our
concerns about the future of the Little Smoky
herd," says Lara Smandych, AWA Conservation
Biologist. "We expect others in both the forestry
and oil and gas industry to follow suit by
deferring logging, pipelines and other industrial
use until caribou range plans are put in place."

Starting in the 2005-2006 winter season, Canfor
will defer harvesting and road construction for
two years within the Little Smoky caribou herd
range. This delay in activity is intended to give the
government of Alberta time to adopt and implement
recommendations from the Alberta Woodland
Caribou Recovery Plan submitted to Government
in October 2004. Recommendations include
the establishment of range teams and range
plans for Alberta's declining caribou herd
populations and habitat.

"We commend Canfor's initiative and
endorsement of the caribou recovery plan," says
Helene Walsh, Boreal Campaign Director of
CPAWS Edmonton. "The plan has been sitting on
the desk of the Minister of Sustainable Resource
Development for six months and we are concerned
about the delay given the urgency of the situation
for caribou.  It is good to hear that Canfor is taking
a responsible approach for the caribou on their
management area."

AWA and CPAWS hope that these efforts do not
come too late for the Little Smoky caribou that is
ranked provincially as "at immediate risk of
extirpation." The herd of about 80 individuals
is at high risk given the large amount of industrial
footprint in the range, which has altered the
natural predator prey relationships and
contributed to their decline.

"It's now time that others in the forest and the
oil and gas industry defer their activity in critical
caribou range," says Cliff Wallis, past president of
AWA. "Companies like Suncor and West
Fraser tout their corporate responsibility but
must start to demonstrate it on the ground."

For more information, please contact:
Lara Smandych, AWA, 403.283.2025 or
Cliff Wallis, AWA, 403.271.1408
Helene Walsh, CPAWS Edm., 780.922.0908