Friday, February 22, 2008

Summerland Mountain Goats Threatened

Some of you might remember the photos I took of the herd of mountain goats that live on the rocky ridges just north of Summerland, BC. I got an e-mail from a local friend yesterday telling me that the proposed widening of the highway between Summerland and Peachland will likely be pretty tough on the herd:
"Over the next few months, the female mountain goats will be having their kids –- they will be at their most vulnerable. Mountain goats are sensitive to human disturbance, especially during kidding season.

This summer, the province is planning to widen the highway through that stretch, requiring extensive blasting. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Contractor Arthon Construction Ltd. (Kelowna) are ignoring professional advice to protect the mountain goats. They are moving ahead with blasting and construction when goats are present, and at their most vulnerable."
They really are incredible, unique animals and I sincerely hope that the province makes every effort to minimize the impact of the construction. If you're concerned about this issue, please contact these decision-makers and let them know:

Steve Diamond, Arthon Construction Ltd. -- 250-764-6144

Kevin Falcon, Minister of Highways –- 604-576-3792

Barry Penner, Minister of Environment -- 1-866-553-5537

Rick Thorpe, MLA Okanagan-Westside -- 250-404-3008

View Larger Map

Update: Yesterday (March 3, 2008) I was in the area to the south of the goat's main habitat and suddenly came across a huge new clear-cut gash that must have been at least a mile straight east (and up) from the highway. The digging around that area looks pretty devastating -- why on earth they'd need to clear-cut a mile-long swath of trees in a line going away from the highway is beyond me. A few articles from the local media: Update: (March 22, 2008) We drove through that section of highway on Wednesday and the goats were fairly low down on the slope, not far above the very active construction area. I wasn't sure whether to take it as a good sign (they weren't bothered much) or a bad sign (they have nowhere else to go).


Teri said...

while i think widening the road is a good idea, the idea of disturbing the mountain goats makes me sad. progress is not always a good thing

Jeremy said...

Agreed, Teri. I'll benefit from the road being wider through there too...but I hope they kind find a way to schedule the worst of the blasting so it isn't happening right in their backyard at the wrong time.

Teri said...

exactly - why not wait a few months. the road won't be finished in time for the tourist season, anyway (assuming it's behind like most construction projects ;)

Vicki said...

hmmm, I'm not educated enough onn this topic to comment properly. This construction is going to mean a lot of changes for Dono as he uses that road every. day. It's going to mean a lot of long days until it's done. It hadn't occured to me to think about how it would affect the wildlife.

Jeremy said...

Hey Vicki, I'm not educated on this stuff either...I just know that they're incredible animals and I don't want them affected. It was amazing to see watch them last year when I hiked in that area with my camera. It's possible that the construction won't affect them much, but I doubt it. Today when we went past there, the digging was in full swing just to the south of their main ridge and no goats were visible down low where they usually are.

I didn't realize Donovan was doing that drive daily...hopefully it's not too bad. I was commuting to Kelowna once or twice a week when they did the last bit of four-laning by Greata Ranch, and it wasn't too bad for delays. Only got stuck a couple of times for 20 minutes or so.

Steve Dimond said...

Well... here we are in 2010, the road is finished, and the Mountain Goats numbers are higher than ever before. They were a very curious onlooker throughout the process and we're pleased they are doing well.

Did you see :

Jeremy said...

I'm sure everyone's glad that they appear to be thriving -- I was up in that area a few weeks ago and saw some young ones looking happy and healthy. It's hard to predict how those disruptions might have affected them -- glad to see they've proven more resilient than most people expected. It sounds like Arthon did everything they could to minimize the impact -- thank you!