Monthly Archives: March 2019

NEWSLETTER February 1, 2019

Taryn Skalbania

I was surprised and delighted that you would travel from Peachland to attend Jennifer Houghton’s insightful and stirring meeting January 22, the Grand Forks Flood, Forests and Forestry.

When I read the Vancouver Sun on Saturday I make a point of reading the short column on the 2nd page, “Conversations That Matter” and there you were: We invited Taryn Skalbania of the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance to join us for a Conversations That Matter about the right to make sure government represents everyone’s interest. I forgot to mark the date of your story.

Your conversation with Broadcaster Stuart McNish highlighted land management grievances with forestry, range management and dirt, quad bike trails that I have brought forward with newsletters and pictures.

In the article the BC Coalition for Forestry Reform made a point that resonates with every British Columbian capable of reasoned thought and due diligence who has spent time on our mountains. “Its time to put an end to a Campbell Government regulation that handed land-use over sight to the companies that are logging and mining on Crown Lands”.

The pictures I am sending my newsletter list of names were taken last November north of Greenwood and west of Grand Forks near the border. Stan Swinarchuk, a retired logger, accompanied me on the days journey and was adamant I see for myself two brutal land slides , a result of logging practices and the sorry condition of the mouth of McRae Creek where it enters Christina Lake. In eight hours of driving we saw two whitetail doe and two grouse.

Presentations by Herb Hammond and Fred Marshall both described as Professional Foresters, made it very clear that the Boundary Timber Supply Area has been ruthlessly exploited. Both presentations are on the internet and the salient facts will give plenty of information to challenge the integrity of Deputy Chief Forester, Diane Nicholls May 22, 2014 Boundary Timber Supply Rationale for Allowable Annual Cut. Https://

Deputy Chief Forester, Diane Nicholl’s argument that justifies the massive clear cuts in the Lodge Pole Pine forest is weak and hollow:

“I am aware of the linkages between AAC and employment, both locally and provincially of the importance of a balance between competing resources and the need for healthy ecosystems.” (page 31)

“Mountain pine beetle (MPB) occur naturally at endemic levels in the Boundary Timber Supply Area. However since 2002 population levels have increased and it is uncertain whether or not the epidemic will continue to expand”.

In my strong opinion, Deputy Chief Forester’s Report is nothing less than cheap politics, a point she makes with her quote;”In the Boundary where Mountain Pine Beetle infestations tend to occur in small, widely dispersed patches” (page 32)

In other words the long standing practice of logging blocks not being larger than 40 hectares would successfully deal with “small widely dispersed patches”.

The minister’s message says it all! “The Minister asked for consideration during AAC determinations of the importance of a stable timber supply in maintaining a competitive and sustainable forest industry while being mindful of other forest values”. Mindful does not square up with important in B.C.

The political reality is that the BC Liberal Government went Alt Right in 2010 on both the Forestry and Wildlife Management File.

The Auditor General of B.C. Audit of Forest Management February 2012 offers good counsel to the BC Liberal Government, a warning that forest practices were out of control.

“However, trends indicate that the future availability of timber will be even smaller and less diverse putting future revenue opportunities at risk. Government needs to establish a provincial plan that states its long term timber objectives and focuses its resources in order to foster economic stability and quality of life for British Columbians now and in the future.Existing management practices are insufficient to offset a trend toward future forests having a lower timber supply and less species diversity in some areas.”

The quote that gets the blood up and showcases the curse of Professional Reliance and a government without a moral compass is on page 16:

“The allowable annual cut in the province is currently 78.6 million cubic metres. This is higher than the estimated sustainable harvest level because the ministry is allowing increased harvesting of mountain pine beetle damaged wood before it becomes unmerchantable.”Once again a contradition of small, widely dispersed patches of bugkill in the Boundary Timber Supply Area.

The best read you will find that highlights the sum of our province’s failure to balance jobs and economy with our inherent responsibility to consider the welfare of future generations is Dr. Bruce Fraser’s critique of Professional Reliance, Saving Place, Land Stewardship in the Age of Limits.

“Always it seemed that the human footprint just kept on expanding, no matter the negotiating devices or conservation programs that were put in place, briefly flourishing, only to be replaced by others without changing the overall trajectory.”

Bruce is a class act that was in full view as moderator of the 92-94 West Kootenay/Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment. There were plenty of raucous/passionate debates between two polar opposite stakeholders. Stakeholders who wanted Parks and responsible land management and those who wanted the status quo.

John Murray, the mining representative had a message he repeated at every meeting. Minerals are where you find them, no parks! Dave Jukes, the Pope & Talbot voice, balled like a cut steer when discussing the Proposed Granby Wilderness Park. Bruce was able to keep control of the rude comments and jeers from both sides, no easy task.

The political journey of the NDP/Green Party Coalition Government doesn’t appear to give us much hope that the Annual Allowable Cut will be reduced to levels expected of responsible forest management.

Nevertheless, recent comments by Green Party Leader, Andrew Weaver in Vaughn Palmer’s Vancouver Sun article February 1; “Horgan’s Gambit Pays Off, Premier risked it all, including his own credibility as a leader and won in Nanaimo” gives a credible opportunity to remind Andrew that his climate change agenda is being compromised by logging practices.

“We are logging green parts of the mid timber supply in beetle affected areas of the interior in an attempt to ameliorate the long forecasted fall down in Allowable Annual Cut. At the landscape scale, we are extensively fragmenting the forest environment- evident in any satellite photograph or inventory of resource roads. We are listing an increasing number of species with threatened status, we are powerless in the face of climate volatility and its consequences and we are not yet managing forests for the expected disruption to the continuity of our fresh water supply, though we see it coming. (Saving Place, Land Stewardship in the age of Limits. Dr. Bruce Fraser.)

The column was about the Nanaimo by-election in which the NDP candidate won and to the dismay of the Green Party their share of the vote dropped from 20% in the last election to just over 7 percent.

As a consequence “Andrew Weaver concedes the Greens will have to rethink the relationship and take some distance from the NDP. He’s mentioned re opening the power sharing agreement and pushing hard for change.”

A bold statement when you consider the Coalition NDP/Green Government have 44 seats in the legislature compared to 42 by the BC Liberals.

I further suggest that stakeholders concerned with watershed management read Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance: Submissions to the BC Government’s Review of Professional
Reliance in Resource Industries January 18, 2018

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER December 18, 2018

I am sending you a recent B.C.Coalition for Forestry Reform Report.

I support the coalition and have subsequently donated $100.00, a pittance when you consider the damage current forest practices have done to the forest ecosystem and the reputation of our province, a point we need to clarify with B.C. forest/lumber trading partners. I urge you to support their message!

A current memo from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and signed by former Provincial Government Regional Biologist, Tom Ethier currently Assistant Deputy Minister Resource Stewardship Division is the NDP/Green Party Coalition Government’s response to the sorry state of wildlife management and habitat conservation. It is an important initiative but has a big downside- the measure of the participants, who with very few exceptions know the stories that showcase why the province’s wildlife resource is in trouble and the solutions necessary for change.

 “The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development are engaging with stakeholders, Indigenous Communities and the public in an initiative we are calling Improving Wildlife Management and Habitat Conservation.

The second phase of the initiative, which is intended to start in December 2018 and last until May 2019 is designed to include more detailed interactive with stakeholders and to collaboratively develop policy options for government to consider.”

There are 54 organizations listed in the memo I will send you after Christmas, asked to participate indeveloping policy options for government to consider.

The impossible mission? Every British Columbian who cares about the future of the province’s wildlife resource must support/demand a dramatic reduction in hunting seasons, bag limits and Limited Entry hunting Authorizations as a critical first step to stop and reverse the dreadful collapse of most big game species.

Newsletters in the immediate future will give you more information to support  the argument and hopefully you will do your part. The first target has to be the 54 organizations asked to participate in Improving Wildlife Management and Habitat Conservation.

By the way, Tom Ethier, the current Assistant Deputy Minister Resource Stewardship Division, accompanied my son, Bear on helicopter wildlife counts late 90s early 2000 when he was a Penticton Provincial Government Biologist. Deer counts were aborted-no significant number of deer to count! How does a no deer count in 2000 on an important ungulate winter range square up with preseason 2000 ungulate population’s estimate for Region 8 Okanagan:

Mule Deer                          Whitetail

28000-42000                     31000-44000

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER November 20, 2018

Luke Doxtator Stewardship Manager

TSILHQOTIN National Government

Early November I had a conversation with NDP Cabinet Minister, Katrine Conroy and asked her if there was any hope the NDP/Green Party Coalition Government would mandate the necessary changes to stop the decline in many wildlife populations.

Katrine said the government was supporting a Moose management roundtable initiative supported by the TSILHQOTIN National Government. I subsequently retrieved the newsletter dated Sept. 28, 2018-“BC Interior First Nation Government and province sign Moose Co-management Agreement that makes significant points that underscore the sorry state of wildlife management province wide.

The extremely small percent of credible BC hunters can relate to Tribal Chairman Chief Joe Alphonse’s frustration with wildlife management:”We had three other years where we tried to work with the province and haven’t got anywhere” Alphonse told the Tribune Friday adding when they eventually deactivated roads in the Chilcotin it was to get the government’s attention.

“We will adhere to the regulation for this year, but with the understanding that next year it will be a joint management effort.”

What is the primary objective of the Moose Recovery Roundtable?

If the moose is the overarching management objective then A Strategy to Help Restore Moose Populations in British Columbia by Al Gorley July 8, 2016 is the blue print.

Al Gorley’s 21 recommendations in his report is an important source of information that underscores the policy change necessary to reverse the dramatic decline of many wildlife populations.

Unfortunately the facts as I know them give no inclination the NDP/Green Party Coalition is prepared to endorse Al Gorley’s Report.

Comments by Environment Minister, George Heyman in a recent article titled “BC Government moves to tighten resource industry regulations by Tom Fletcher” October 22, 2018 are enlightening/encouraging and at the same time worrisome.

Minister George Heyman has begun the NDP Government’s overhaul of oversight of resource projects, bring forward legislation to set up a new superintendent to oversee engineers, biologists, foresters and other professionals who are currently self- governing.

Heyman said the change is required “restore public trust in decisions made on natural resource projects.” No truer words said!

Heyman also said professional organizations are in favor of the change and it would be “very, very rare” for the new superintendent to overrule one of the professional organizations.

    With all due respect to Minister Heyman , Professional Organizations have failed to successfully challenge the political decisions that dominate the Forest and Range Practice’s Act, Riparian Area Protection Act and Wildlife Act.

Professional Reliance Review Mark Haddock page 79. Regime Specific Evaluations

The Professional reliance Review looked at nine statutes governing natural resources. Most of the legislation adequately addresses government’s authority to make resource management decisions, although minor amendments might be warranted to support other recommendations.

    Two notable exceptions are the Riparian Areas Protection Act and Forest and Range Practices Act, both of which restrict government authority over public resources. These issues are well known and have been examined in detail by the Ombudsperson, Forest Practices Board and Case Law.

An apt description of the long standing contempt for responsible wildlife habitat management.

Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource’s mandate letter July 18, 2017 raises another red flag: improve wildlife management and habitat conservation and collaborate with stakeholders to develop long and short term strategies to manage B.C.’s wildlife resource.

How does a Moose recovery Roundtable connect with the Minister’s mandate letter; collaborate with stakeholders?

For starters the wildlife management bureaucracy is not credible and they are not going to support the obvious important first step- cut hunting opportunity to the bone.

  1. Cancel the spike bull season
  2. Gut the group hunt and in the process admit population estimates were designed to reflect the political agenda.

As I have said in past newsletters, Premier Glen Clark demanded more money from the wildlife file, a point made by a letter written in 1996 by Wildlife Director, Jim Walker. The NDP Government was in a sea of red ink and so mandate letters to NDP Ministers announced a polar opposite management vision of natural resources than former NDP Premier Mike Harcourt.

As a consequence two meetings at the old Grand Forks Wildlife Hall November 1997 organized and supported by hunters desperate to reduce the mule deer buck season in a last ditch effort to save the critical mass of the mule deer failed.

Since 1996 the political foot print on wildlife management has gotten bigger, a point made in the Feb 2015 Provincial Framework for Moose Management in British Columbia: Regional staff contemplating reductions in moose hunting opportunities should address if hunting opportunities for other big game species may be enhanced within conservation limits to partially mitigate impacts to hunters (page 11).

Al Gorley’s # 7 Recommendation; Ensure decisions about management of moose hunting are consistent with population enhancement objectives and transparent is polar opposite to the Big Game Harvest Management Procedure 2010.

“The Big Game Harvest Management Procedure (2010) describes its purpose as “to establish a transparent and consistent method by which regional staff will develop, maintain and modify big game hunting regulations to meet management objectives”. The procedures provide for provincial and regional advisory committees, through which stakeholders provide input to the regulations.

The overwhelming anecdotal stories from credible hunters, outfitters, First Nation Stakeholders are a blunt reminder that wildlife management policy has been a dismal failure since the 1996 NDP Glen Clark Government. The 2010 Big Game Harvest Management Procedure was part of that failure exacerbated by the obvious lack of measure of provincial and regional advisory committees.

The facts as I know them predict the Moose Recovery Roundtable will not endorse the dramatic reduction in hunting pressure necessary to start the slow recovery of the moose population. Certainly the problem is much bigger than hunting opportunity. Access, habitat ,predators especially the wolf are problems but the solution if there is one, starts where you can instantly make a difference.

There is no evidence that stakeholders who will attend your roundtable connected to wildlife/habitat directly or indirectly have the measure to champion the interest of the moose first and foremost.

There are more parts to the story I will present in my next newsletter starting with a review of Guidelines for Wildlife Policy in Canada-1982.Of all the quotes I underlined there is one quote that puts our greed in perfect perspective-


  1. Canadians are the temporary custodians, not the owners of their Wildlife Heritage!

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER October 20, 2018

      The following quote appeared on the scroll of CTV News on Sunday Sept. 31: “BC Government blasted for expanding bighorn sheep hunt”.

The subsequent news release stated the British Columbia Government is expanding the bighorn sheep hunt in part of the Caribou region at the same time it targets the animal’s natural predators to protect the herds in a move one conservation group is calling “astounding”.

“For the first time since 1993 open hunting of rams with full curl horns is allowed in the Taseko Lakes area of the caribou. In the neighboring region around Churn Creek Southwest of Williams Lake, the province has contracted the cull of wolves and coyotes to protect two sheep herds in decline.

The statement from the Ministry said the cull was necessary to protect two unique herds one of which has only eight members and is at risk of extinction. The other herd has 29 animals and the goal is to increase the population to 50 sheep with a minimum of 25 to 30 adult ewes.”

I agree with a predator control agenda because the alternative is the complete extirpation/loss of two California Bighorn Sheep herds.

I do not agree with the statistical argument that validates increasing hunting opportunity. The province says even if all rams with full curl were killed enough older rams would remain in the population for breeding purposes.

The statistical argument that validates increased hunting opportunity of California Bighorn rams dominates wildlife management policy in British Columbia.

“Who Killed the Grand Banks” by Alex Rose correctly called the collapse of the North Atlantic Cod population a national disgrace. Two quotes from former St. John’s Newfoundland conservative Member of Parliament, John Crosbie showcase how jobs and the economy dominate political decisions regardless of the consequences!

  1. 13 Mr. Crosbie did not admit that government policy was at fault. Instead he continued to advance the official government line that the collapse of the fishery was attributed to three causes: foreign overfishing outside of our 200 mile limit, a rapid increase in the seal population and oceanographic phenomena such as cold water barriers.
  2. 29 John Crosbie admitted to sharing this tendency towards optimism. “We have opted for the upper end of the scientific advice always striving to get the last pound of fish”.

It is true that virtually all rams older than six years grind/wear down their first year of horn growth and as a consequence are no longer full curl. The horns of the bighorn ram grows every year and as they get older the growth rings are closer together as the mass of the horns get larger at the base with the skull. The first year of growth the lamb tip is virtually gone with rams 9-10 years old.

This year 8 rams were harvested on the Gilpin Grasslands a fact I bitterly resent. In due course I am going to ask for public support to reduce the harvest to five.

I remind all the players who may take exception to my request that the province’s wildlife resource and the future of hunting is grim if the 2019-2020 Hunting Regulations do not dramatically reduce hunting seasons, Limited Entry Hunting authorizations and bag limits.

All of the stories I am hearing with one exception describe a catastrophic collapse of the province’s moose population. With few exceptions hunters blame predators which is primarily the wolf.

Predators are a problem but the first order of business is to mandate a review of hunting opportunity.

The preseason 2017 Ungulate Species Regional Population Estimates for moose in seven of the nine wildlife regions with a significant moose population give no warning of a major population decline.

The moose population in British Columbia is in serious population decline, a point made by three current reports:

  1. Provincial Framework for Moose Management in British Columbia- ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations- Fish & Wildlife Branch Feb. 2015.
  2. A Strategy to Help Restore Moose Populations in British Columbia- prepared for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations July 18, 2016- Al Gorley
  3. Moose Enhancement and Recovery Strategy July 29, 2016 prepared for Guide-Outfitters of BC

My moose story in the East Boundary- Greenwood, Grand Forks and Christina Lake (sub units 8-15, 8-14) does not have a long history. Limited Entry Hunting and the Spike Bull season two or fewer points (tines) on one antler started in the fall of 2000.

Instead of nurturing a small moose population the cumulative effect of predators, an extremely high road density, massive clear cuts in the lodge pole pine forest and liberal hunting opportunity a small moose population is in a slow death spiral.

A moose sighting in the East Boundary was extremely rare when my family moved to Grand Forks June 1978. By the mid nineties a moose sighting was no longer rare especially in the Boundary Creek watershed north of Greenwood (8-14).

A growing moose population resulted in the inevitable presence of the wolf. Although I had seen a few wolf tracks in past years and saw one at 5km on the Burrell Creek logging road in the mid nineties, their permanent presence was obvious early December 2003. One of my old female hounds cranked her tail after sticking her nose in a frozen cougar track but when I examined the adjacent tracks on the top of the hard snow I realized she was trailing a cold wolf track. To-day wolf tracks are easy to find in snow.

The recommendations from the Moose Reports that if implemented would reverse the steady decline of the moose population, is a story for another day. Nevertheless, a quick read of the Moose Hunting Opportunity in the Boundary, the smallest geographic area in the province, Region 8 Okanogan Sub Units 8-12, 814 and 8-15 is one of many examples that showcase how Hunting Opportunity got totally out of control.

Penticton biologists sanctioned a LEH (Limited Entry Hunting Season) on Bull Moose in the Boundary (8-12, 8-14 & 8-15) in 2000 which also included a spike bull season, any bull moose with two or less tines on one antler was fair game.

Subsequently Penticton provincial government Biologist, Brian Harris recommended the spike bull season be terminated because of the negative impact on the mature Bull Moose population. The spike bull season was shortened but subsequently implemented in all wildlife regions with a significant moose population.

The British Columbia Limited Entry Hunting Synopsis 2018-2019 lists 62 group/shared moose hunts in the Boundary. The shared/group hunt is intended to increase the number of people drawn for moose without increasing the number of moose harvested. A group of two will be authorized to take one moose and a group of three or four will be authorized to take two moose.62 Shared Hunts means a minimum of 124 hunters and a maximum of 248 hunters.

Region: 8-12                     Region: 8-14                                   Region:  8-15

Oct.-7 Group Hunts             Oct.- 10 Group Hunts                      Oct.- 4 Group Hunts

Nov.-12 Group Hunts         Nov.-19 Group Hunts                    Nov.- 9 Group Hunts

Although moose mortality is a function of many reasons the only immediate recovery tactic that is going to work is an immediate reduction in the harvest by hunters and First Nations. The future of hunting may well hang on that Declaration.

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER September 26, 2018

If you are a veteran of BC politics then I believe you would readily accept the following quote coined by German Philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer as an appropriate preface to future wildlife, grasslands, water, forests, parks debates.

“All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed and third it is accepted as self evident.”

Since the mid nineties there has been a catastrophic collapse of many big game wildlife populations. Liberalized hunting seasons and bag limits coupled with an extremely high road density is one of the major reasons wildlife populations have collapsed.

A letter appeared in the Grand Forks Gazette March 17, 2010 titled Hunting Regulations Draconian by yours truly, Barry Brandow Sr. in which the following quotes are a reminder how hollow, vacant and corrupt wildlife management in B.C. is to-day!

“Listen up British Columbians your wildlife resource is in serious trouble and if you don’t speak up now future generations will be denied the pleasure of this heritage.

New hunting regulations, if implemented will ensure future generations of consumptive and non-consumptive users will be denied the pleasure of a valuable heritage.

The backbone of this new hunting initiative is population numbers that have no connection to reality and agriculture complaints that continually exaggerate the problem. These new recommendations are so draconian bordering on cruel, that everyone in the hunting movement who is credible is in disbelief.”

    Is the corrupt, dishonest BC Ungulate Species Regional Population Estimates and status preseason 2011, 2014, 2017 for deer, elk, moose a cover for the never ending complaints primarily from agriculture and highways since the mid-nineties the start of the steep descent of many big game populations?

How do you square a March 7, 2018 Simon Fraser University Report that challenges the widespread assumption that wildlife management in North America is science based with a March 19, 1993 letter written by Regional Fish & Wildlife Manager Steve Willett?

Simon Fraser-“The researchers note that claims of science based management would however be supportive if management defined clear objectives, used evidence to inform decisions, was transparent with the public about all factors contributing to decisions and subjected plans and approaches to external review.”

Remember wildlife population reports/quotes prior to the brutal 96-97 winter the start of the steep decline of many wildlife populations tell a dramatically different story than post 96-97.

Steve Willett- One of the difficulties we all face is that most of our more visible species suggest we have lots of wildlife. Biologically that is great but politically it doesn’t help us one bit. Exacerbating the situation is the increasing barrage of complaints from the agriculture community and some urban ones, that we have too much wildlife and we should be reducing their numbers, not making conditions favorable for increasing wildlife populations.”

The political reality is that wildlife managers in BC are given the job of creating an illusion a façade of wildlife management because of the never ending pressure from other stakeholders especially Highways and Agriculture!

    The Simon Fraser University Research Article, Hallmarks of Science Missing From North American Wildlife Management 2014 is a hollow statement that misses the mark and will only be credible if the indictment reads- Hallmarks of Science missing from BC Wildlife Management because of the longstanding influence of stakeholders on hunting seasons and bag limits.

There are plenty of quotes from the Agriculture Sector especially BC Ranchers that make my point!

    The Western Producer May 31, 2013- Exploding populations of deer, elk and predators are driving BC ranchers to distraction as they fight to protect their grasslands from ungulates and their calves from hungry wolves.

The article centers on complaints of Rancher, Doug Fossin ” You don’t mind feeding a few but these guys with 1500 deer that is a big problem”, Fossin said He lives at Rock Creek about 40 km east of Osoyoos and chairs the BC Cattlemen’s Association Environmental Committee.

“The problem is common throughout the province” said Mike Rose of the Nicola Valley.

In response to my longstanding complaints of irresponsible ranching practices on the Gilpin Grasslands by Mehmal Ranch, my arguments have been countered three times with vacant, hollow initiatives designed to deceive British Columbians:

  1. Prestigious North American Grazing Award given to Mehmal ranch Nov. 2006
  2. Fencing initiative on Gilpin Grasslands 2009 that made no attempt to keep cows out of water holes.
  3. BC Cattlemen’s Association spokesperson, Elaine Stovin’s rebuttal to my article in the Grand Forks Gazette March7, 2012 in which I quote water samples contaminated by E-Coli and and announce Activist, Bruce Davidson will tell the Walkerton, Ontario story at the Grand Forks Auditorium March 14, 2012.

Ranching has always had critics, a point made by Welfare Ranching. My personal opinion is that good government will support ranching in BC on public land but demand the removal of cows from sensitive important environments; important water courses, parks and areas critical to wildlife.

As a consequence of the B.C. liberal Government support for Professional Reliance the BC Cattlemen’s Association is out of control and have made comments that cannot be accepted if British Columbians value their wildlife and water resources.

I will revisit names, quotes and examples of unacceptable ranching behavior in the immediate future.

The BC Wildlife Federation is running out of time to roll over and admit their hunting opportunity agenda was a serious mistake before the preponderance of the evidence highly critical of wildlife management makes that organization totally irrelevant.

An article appeared in the Vancouver Sun Feb. 14, 2018 “Time to eliminate hunter-centric wildlife policies. Conservation model is whats needed”, Emily Pickett writes.

    “Wildlife policy in BC is heavily influenced by the recreational hunting lobby and as a result treats wildlife as a resource to be exploited and controlled instead of conserved”

I personally believe Emily Pickett’s description of wildlife management is an apt description of the BC Wildlife Federation Agenda driven by decent men and women who unfortunately do not have the depth or measure when it comes to the politics of wildlife management. One thing history teaches us is that you can never endlessly deny or suppress the truth.

Although Emily Pickett and her Wildlife Defense League companions mean well a subscription to all the facts puts a hole in her strident proclamation that “During pursuit only seasons, adult cougars and kittens are sometimes attacked and injured by hounds, separated due to extensive chases and run down to exhaustion.”

Cougar tree and seldom bay and when they do bay they do it on their own terms which often results in a vet bill or a dead hound. Nevertheless Emily’s quote does underline the difficulty of meaningful wildlife management debate unless stakeholders demand all the facts be part of the debate not just the emotional ones that have no connection to reality.

    You own all the pictures and newsletters I send you.

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER August 24, 2018

I am sending you a letter I sent to the media-some of you received it, some did not.

My wife, Midge and I never embraced the computer or smart phone with great enthusiasm and consequently we are prone to mistakes like not securing Incredi mail and lost all our addresses. Hopefully we have them now.

The newsletter gives you a perspective from an experienced hunter/outfitter that has been down plenty of dusty, bumpy trails in my fight to get respect for British Columbia’s wildlife resource.

The newsletter journey is a grind and beyond the interest of most hunters and concerned citizens.

There are certainly no bad feelings when subscribers want off our e-mail list. Typically for every name that wants off the list we add at least two.

Will we ever see wildlife populations of the mid-nineties again? The only way that is possible is a bi-partisan coalition of NDP/Green/BC Liberal Politicians who support mandated change to rules and regulations that touch every stakeholder on the mountains.

Barry Brandow Sr.



NEWSLETTER July 30, 2018

Veteran hunters are well aware that animals respond to hunting pressure and one of their survival tactics is to hunt/travel at night.

An article in the Vancouver Sun June 15, 2018 titled Animals Shifting from Day to Night to Avoid People makes a few points well known by veteran hunters: “The latest research found even activities like hiking and camping can scare animals and drive them to be more active at night. It suggests that animals might be playing it safe around people.”

The bookend of the pictures I am sending you start and end with California Bighorn Sheep.

Early August 2017 I watched two large groups of 30 plus bighorn ewes, yearlings and lambs converge adjacent to Highway #3 at the east end of the Rock Quarry. I have been around the bighorns in Grand Forks since their transplant in February 1984, 85 & 86 and have never seen two large groups of bighorns immediately adjacent to each other.

The Limited Entry Hunting Season on the Gilpin Grasslands starts September 1 and last year within a few hours of the start of the LEH hunting season a group of 13 rams moved west immediately adjacent to the west end of the wildlife fence.

That message came from my son, Bear via our FM radios. I know the area thanks to building and repairing the wildlife fence which is adjacent to Highway #3 and the NE boundary of the City of Grand Forks on the south side of the highway.

When I arrived on scene you could instantly see the new bighorn ram trail. The core area of the bighorn ram sanctuary east to west is approximately 1 ½ km and no more than 200 meters south to north, a small part of large District Lots all privately owned. Behind the fence is a steep rocky/grassland slope that moderates to a grassland ponderosa pine area and a spring used to fill a water trough for cows. North is open moderate/steep grasslands dominated by non-native grasses and weeds.

Both events, two large groups of ewes, lambs and bighorn rams seeking sanctuary on private land is driven by the behavior of predators which includes hunters. The mismanagement of mule and whitetail deer has resulted in few prey species for predators throughout the Boundary-Region 8 Okanagan, subunits 8-12, 8-14 and 8-15.

It is true that predators can and do negatively impact wildlife populations. I witnessed an uptick in the cougar population in the East Boundary-Greenwood, Grand Forks and Christina Lake in 1991. The grind of finding a cougar track suddenly changed but most of the tracks were young females.

In the near future I will send you a newsletter that centers on my experience of hunting the cougar that starts in 1971 and the political game that reminds hunters that the cougar has a growing number of friends.

Bighorn lamb survival on Gilpin has declined the last few years thanks to the wily coyote. But then again when you watch a group of ewes and lambs how many ewes are too young to have lambs and how many are too old? It is not uncommon to see a group of young ewes and banana curl rams.

 Gilpin ungulate winter range has an alarming road density magnified by a highly successful quad bike agenda that conveniently ignored transparency and accountability.

As a consequence of the road density and the dramatic increase in quad, mountain and dirt bike riders using every road/trail on Gilpin, every ungulate and predator responds to the presence of humans. The group of bighorn rams sought refuge on private property and they were still there when we were fencing in the adjacent rocks in April. According to my son the biggest rams on the mountain were the leaders.

The Draft Management Plan July 2008 for the Proposed Gilpin-Morrissey Wildlife Management Area states on page 61 “There are approximately 62 KM of roads throughout the proposed WMA plan area. The majority of these roads are non-status roads. The extensive road network is frequently utilized by motor vehicles (e.g. off highway vehicles and 4x4s) for recreation activities such as hunting, wildlife viewing and scenic excursions”

In 2008 I listed the 22 roads in the WMA proposal and calculated their length by using km road markers and came up with a total of 81 ½ km. Thanks to new logging roads the total to-day would be at least 84 km of roads.

Perspective-Rod Silver, Region 4 West Kootenay Provincial Government biologist sent a letter to members of the Overton-Moody Resource Management Plan Access Committee January 10, 1078. (Overton-Moody the bookend watersheds of Gilpin Grasslands).

Rod Silver listed the access management grievances and the justification for his argument that “Road access in the planned area should not be increased”. The Overton-Moody Unit (Gilpin) is recognized as one of the few most important ungulate winter ranges in the Boundary area, Green Belt purchases provide vivid testimonials to this fact”.

Access management in British Columbia is a non-starter and a major reason the province’s wildlife resource is in serious trouble so is Rod’s 1978 recommendation the answer in championing responsible access management?

It is recommended that the Overton-Moody Coordinated Resource Management Committee seek approval from the KRMC (?) to proceed with the following vehicular restriction via an Order in Council initiated and enforced by the Fish & Wildlife Branch.

An Order in Council never got traction in 1978 and as a consequence notwithstanding a few anemic attempts to control access, roads and trails are constructed with impunity in the Boundary.

Is there any hope for the province’s wildlife resource? It is an iffy proposition and the analogies that support that argument are well documented in “Who Killed the Grand Banks” by Alex Rose 16 years after MP John Crosby announced the moratorium on North Atlantic Cod. July 2, 1992.

The tipping point will only come when every stakeholder agrees or is forced to take less off the mountain!

I am sending you more pictures than usual, a salute to the guys and one gal who volunteered a total of 110 man hours to fence two small gaps (19 metal posts) at the western end of the wildlife fence constructed a generation ago.

I will send the pictures in two groups with an interval of a few days.

The western end of the wildlife fence was built to keep mule deer off Highway #3. Needless to say the mule deer population is grim as is the whitetail population, a point made by this year’s deer count on the Gilpin Ungulate Winter Range: 62 mule deer and 83 whitetails.

A small number of bighorns, primarily rams  have been end running the fence through the two gaps not fenced for at least the last five years. Why I don’t know? After all, the south side of the highway is dominated by two motels, a trailer park, a Fortis office and yard and Kootenay Car Care.

A small problem suddenly got a lot larger.

Barry Brandow Sr.

NEWSLETTER June 30, 2018

    I am sending you an email letter on Access Management sent to a few stakeholders a couple of weeks ago.

The lack of responsible access management in the Boundary, the smallest geographic area in the province is totally out of control and as a consequence there are many chapters to an ongoing story.

Perspective- In a recent conversation with Doug Noren, one of Interfor’s foresters Doug estimated the KM of road built by Interfor since the company purchased the assets of the failed lumber company, Pope&Talbot in 2008 to be in the order of 1000-1100 KM. How many KM of road have been deactivated/rehabilitated to meet Kootenay/Boundary Land use Plan objectives-virtually none!

I have talked to Doug in the past and consider him a moderate voice on access management but it is obvious his voice gets little traction/respect in his circle of foresters.

Doug did suggest that Interfor would be sympathetic to deactivation /rehabilitation of existing roads if Interfor was paid to deactivate roads not needed in the near future.

The best source of information on access management that I am aware is found in the Kootenay/Boundary Land Use Plan-Draft Oct. 1996.

It is an easy four page read but also a sad reminder of how quick and fast the guideline intent of the report was discounted.

“However, roads can pose a challenge for managing and maintaining environmental and social values. Therefore access management must promote an integrated flexible approach for managing the land and all values through the maintenance of a network of highways and forest roads, to provide access for all uses, while giving careful consideration for the siting of new roads and the regulation/deactivation/rehabilitation of existing roads in order to meet range of Kootenay/Boundary Land Use Plan Objectives and Strategies.”

If you are a player and care about the province’s wildlife resource use the report I am sending you as a starting point on access management conversations.

It is obvious that there are no meaningful regulations when it comes to constructing horse, quad, mountain, dirt bike trails.

To validate my argument I made a Freedom of Information request to the Ministries of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and made two requests.

  1. Record/file of stakeholders “fined” because of building/constructing quad, dirt, mountain bike, horse trails without government sanction.
  2. A record of stakeholders “fined” because of ecological damage caused by dirt, quad and mountain bikes when refusing to stay on sanctioned trails.

Will I get an answer? The current tactic by the provincial bureaucracy overseeing management decisions I have challenged is to ignore my requests for transparency and accountability!

The Grand Forks Quad Bike agenda successfully promoted motorized vehicle recreation adjacent to the Granby Class A Provincial Park and the Gilpin Grassland ungulate winter range because transparency and accountability was totally ignored. But if the past is prologue to the future then the populism of quad, dirt, mountain bike recreation may well be deemed more important than the long list of arguments used to support wildlife and wildlife habitat by restricting access.

The Grand Forks Quad Bike Club story is a long pathetic three chapter story for another day but the immediate result has been a dramatic increase in the number of quad, dirt, mountain bike recreationists immediately adjacent to the Class A Granby Provincial Park and on the Gilpin Grassland Ungulate Winter Range,

The long established standard of access management that does not challenge the security of wildlife; .6 KM access per sq. KM was never part of the debate.

To-day there are three docking/unloading stations for dirt, quad, mountain bike recreations on the Gilpin grasslands and a large staging area and interpretive area adjacent to the Granby Park.

Doug Zorn, the president of the GF Quad Bike Club in an article in the Grand Forks Gazette coined a classic oxymoron statement (contradiction): “The Grand Forks ATV Club is active in preserving the environmental and wildlife habitat and protecting our rights and privileges to access Crown Land”.

The Quad Bike Club Agenda was an insulting canned process that excluded stakeholders and to make matters worse Conservation Officer, Dave Webster has been a no show in the Grand Forks area.

To-day there are three unloading/docking stations that showcase a map of designated trails on the Gilpin Grassland Ungulate Winter Range and location of sign markers pointing the way forward. There are no signs reminding riders to stay on designated trails and roads.

If you talk to dirt bike riders you will discover they honestly believe there are no rules or regulations.

Evidently Webster is now an instructor within the conservation service and as a consequence Grand Forks will be home to two new conservation officers. Will it be more of the same or will we be fortunate to have conservation officers in the mold of Joe Carvetta and Bob Workman?

Bob and Joe knew that if you wanted co-operation and trust, best respect hunters and not treat them like peltry criminals. Sharing information both ways is easy when you respect and trust people.

I will send you a few pictures that showcase wildlife fencing in rocks taken in April. The bookends of the story start and end with California Bighorns and their response to hunting pressure.

Barry Brandow Sr.

Outdoor Recreation Council June 21, 2018

Just received the sad news that Jeremy McCall, the heart and soul of Outdoor Recreation Council has had to resign from all positions he held within the ORC Organization because of health problems.

Since the collapse of the 91-96 Mike Harcourt NDP Commission on Resources and Environment Agenda driven by reasoned thought and due diligence, responsible management on our mountains slowly and steadily disappeared. In the resulting leadership VOID very few British Columbians struck their colors and supported a cause dear to their heart with passion and determination.

Jeremy McCall’s curriculum vitae are a reminder that there is truly an award for successful leadership.

NEWSLETTER May 29, 2018

    The flood in the Grand Forks area is over and now the painful reckoning of the damage is the game.

Vancouver Sun May 26, 2018:

“Emergency personnel in Grand Forks say the recovery process has begun in the community of 4000, which was hard hit by this year’s flooding! Evacuation orders have been lifted for all but 12 properties in the community. Chris Marsh, head of the Regional District of Kootenay/Boundary’s emergency operations center, says those properties are concentrated along riverbanks where sloughing and slope instability remain a threat.”

Every property owner touched by the flood has received one of three colored bulletins from the hired help who were truly full measure in mitigating the damage caused by the flood.

GREEN: INSPECTED- no restriction of use or occupancy.

YELLOW: Restricted Use- entry/occupancy and lawful use are restricted as indicated below

RED: UNSAFE- Do not enter or occupy

My wife and I received a green bulletin- No restriction of use or occupancy

Unfortunately our neighbors George Danish and Irini Makortoff were not so lucky. They both received a red bulletin. The pictures tell the story. Both houses received plenty of attention by the many helicopter flights monitoring the Kettle River.

Time has compromised George’s health so I asked Katie Minder, George’s immediate neighbor how much land did he lose to the Kettle River. Her answer was dramatic. There were two trucks, two tractors, a quad bike and a few dirt bikes parked between the house and the edge of the drop- off, a 50 ft. steep gravel slope that touches the Kettle River, all vehicles disappeared into the river.

Irini Makortoff, two properties up river from George has a smaller but none the less a serious erosion problem. A reminder that if your property touches the inside arch of the river as it changes direction as both George’s and Irini’s property does, you have the potential for a serious erosion problem.

The real issue is the width of Irini’s property from the edge of the pavement to the Kettle River. In other words why would Regional Government Zoning Regulations allow construction of a house on a lot that has absolutely no protection from erosion in the event of a serious flood?

Will the question of zoning regulations that allow construction of a house on a flood plain be part of the debate when assessing why the foundation of a new house in Manly Meadows east of Grand Forks has shifted resulting in a total loss of the house?

The Kettle River takes a serpentine direction in the Grand Forks area, a point easily made if you get a vantage point on the Gilpin Grasslands. The Granby River which enters the Kettle within Grand Forks City limits tends to flow in a southern direction from the 28 Mile Bridge north of Grand Forks where the Burrell Creek enters the Granby. One big exception is the direction of the Granby River as it flows adjacent to Rick Friesen’s property approximately 8 KM on the North Fork Road north of Highway #3.

The Granby River flows south and then makes a short sharp turn east and quickly resumes its southern journey resulting in the inside arc of the river grinding and tearing Rick’s property resulting in a new main channel. In other words Rick’s house is now on an island.

The Kettle River May 2017 was the highest the river had been since we moved here June 1978. Our marker is the gravel road we use to access our barn on the flood plain adjacent to the Kettle River.

When it was announced early April that the snow pack in our part of the province was 154% of normal then my son and I correctly assumed the river would be two feet higher than last year. Unlike most property owners on the flood plain, my son, Bear moved every bit of equipment, machinery and material of value onto higher ground.

Is the Grand Forks flood of May 2018 a once in a century event as described in the Grand Forks Gazette or is this the new paradigm/model? If the weather pattern in our part of the world the last three years continues then it is a given fire and flood will continue to be our unwelcome companions.

Barry Brandow Sr.


NEWSLETTER April 1, 2018

There was a meeting April 10 in Vancouver organized by the Fraser Basin Council on behalf of the Province to oversee a stakeholder engagement process to discuss species at risk legislation, wildlife habitat conservation and caribou recovery.

There are legions of information indicting the current management of all three subjects. To the hunting fraternity species at risk and habitat conservation connect with the grassland ecosystem and ungulate winter ranges.

The province of BC advertises the grassland ecosystem as the most threatened, less than 1% of the province’s land base and home to most of the provinces endangered and threatened species-red and blue listed.

If the past is prologue to the future then species at risk legislation is dead on arrival for the very large reason that meaningful legislation will mandate a dramatic change in agriculture practices.

My contribution to the species at risk and wildlife habitat conservation debate centers on the messages from voices who give us a glimmer of hope that the NDP Government will be successful and support the public interest where the preponderance of the evidence supports change to current policy.

A report titled Developing a Coordinated Approach to Grassland Species at Risk Recovery in British Columbia Workshop Summary June 6-7 2006 states grasslands in British Columbia hold a vast number of species at risk: 30% of federally listed endangered species in British Columbia occupy grasslands for some or all of their life cycle, wile 137 animals and numerous plant associations are also grassland dependant.

The buzz words in the report under Executive Summary on page two states “Focus on implementation not planning”.

A blunt assessment of past history but hardly surprising when the author of the report is FORREX a partnership committed to “Supporting Sustainable Natural Resource Management Decisions”.

Don Gayton, a well known and respected grassland voice was part of the FORREX team and his Review of the Gilpin Grasslands March 2003 cuts to the chase with his blunt assessment that “the Gilpin has a long history of poor management and I do not expect this to change soon”.

Don’s Conclusion and Recommendations in his Review of the Gilpin Grasslands were totally ignored by the BC Liberal Government which was hardly surprising when you remember the Executive Director of the BC Cattlemen’s Association; David Borth was hired in 2005 to oversee the provincial range bureaucracy.

There are more sound bytes to the story which validates David’s proclamation during a July 2007 field trip on the Gilpin Grasslands; we will never change”. Garbage in garbage out!

In a private conversation I asked Don what it would take to improve the Gilpin grassland ecosystem. His answer;”a lighter footprint of the cow would see a dramatic change in 25 years”

    Don Gayton’s vision of range management was polar opposite to the dismal performance of former provincial government agrologists; Jim Maxwell, Jack King and Carl Withler.

If we dare to believe NDP Minister of the Environment, George Heyman’s mandate letter is prologue to the future; enact an endangered species law and harmonize other laws to ensure they are all working towards the goal of protecting our beautiful province then lets hope that the current NDP Government will move forward and embrace a News Release message dated November 6, 1995

Cranbrook- a new committee to lead the implementation of a Grazing Enhancement Fund as part of the Kootenay-Boundary Land Use Plan was announced to-day by Kootenay MLA and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Ann Edwards on behalf of Agriculture Minister David Zirnhelt.

Under the co-chairmanship of ranchers, Bill Coy and Blaine Coates the group will direct implementation of the new five year $3.75 million Grazing Enhancement Fund to assist the region’s ranching industry. The fund will enable cattle grazing and forage production on public grazing lands in a manner which meets the conservation and environmental objective outlined in the land use plan.

The Grazing Enhancement News Release was a creation of the Mike Harcourt NDP Government that like the Forest Practices Code died quick and hard under the leadership of the 1996 Glen Clark NDP Government.

I served on that committee, attending winter meetings at Creston because the initial Terms of Reference stated/implied that a primary objective of the Grazing Enhancement Committee was the removal of cows in Parks by finding and creating new food sources.

The tenure of the Grazing Enhancement Committee was reduced to two years and the funding dramatically reduced to $350,000 and consequently conservation and environmental objectives highlighted in the many reports given to participants of the West Kootenay/Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment Roundtable were never discussed.

The conservation and environmental objectives were a non-starter a generation ago and with the dramatic decline in small ranches its time to take counsel from former NDP Minister of Agriculture David Zirnfelt’s 1995 message, “Government is delivering more control over land use planning to local citizens in the Kootenays

The agriculture sector in our province has a long history of holding the trump card that has resulted in third rate management of sensitive, important areas to wildlife including species at risk.

How does this accurate indictment of the agriculture sector square up with the NDP/Green Part coalition government? Who are the players past and present that give us hope that the past will not be prologue to the future?

Two polar opposite positions on ungulate winter range management by retired provincial government range managers; Jim White and Jack King gives us a message to support and one to totally discount!

Cattle-Wildlife Interactions Jim White (no date)

    “If cattle are allowed to concentrate for any length of time in the fall in areas that are critical for deer winter use the stage is set for severe conflict. They may browse off significant amounts of Saskatoon, willow, current, snowbrush, red osier, dogwood and rose-species important for deer winter use.

There is the problem, now what is the solution? The first and obvious one is to simply not allow cattle use of deer winter ranges. This is done wherever possible.”

“In many cases prohibiting use is not feasible but severely limiting use is”.

J.G.King Regional Range Officer to W.E.Brash District Manager Boundary Forest District Dec. 17, 1981

“Considerable feed and labor savings are realized by this procedure of grazing these cows on the grasslands for the period of September 16-December 31 or when snow becomes too deep to allow grazing. They do not harm the range at all and actually benefit the deer by conditioning the grass plants for spring use by deer”.

Will the NDP/Green Party Coalition embrace Jim White’s message? Jim has a strong relationship with David Zirnhelt, a former NDP Minister of Agriculture. David and Jim were past prominent players in the Grassland Council of BC, a point made in newsletters.

Corky Evans, a former NDP Minister of Agriculture from Nelson was connected to the Grazing Enhancement Fund Kootenay/Boundary Land Use Plan in which important program objectives included: to improve management of riparian areas and to maintain and enhance biodiversity and long term fish and wildlife productivity on crown range land.

Lana Popham, the current NDP Minister of Agriculture has gravel in her gut and hasn’t been shy in criticizing fish farms. Her quote in A Matter of Confidence the inside story of the political battle for BC is blunt and colorful.

Lana was criticized for her activism as a Minister of Agriculture. “It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be” she told the Times columnists, Amy Smart.”I was used to lighting my hair on fire and then all of a sudden I was in the line of fire”.

Will the NDP/Green Party Coalition Government accept the advice of Stephen Owen, a Commissioner on behalf of the Mike Harcourt NDP Government West Kootenay Commission on Resources and Environment News Release dated December 13, 1994?

An open letter to the People of the West Kootenay-Boundary Region

The document highlights the Mike Harcourt NDP Government Protected Area Strategy and presents a sound byte connected to the management of proposed Special Management Areas.

“As an example the plan recommends the Gilpin Grassland Area in the south Okanagan Highland be managed to emphasize conservation and restoration of the natural grasslands which are important for rare and endangered species, such as the western rattlesnake and the burrowing owl.”

The population of BC has grown dramatically in a generation and non-consumptive recreation has likewise grown. I am going to send you pictures taken last November in the Gilpin Grassland Class A Provincial Park, a prime target for removing cows which would dramatically improve habitat for wildlife and species at risk.

Barry Brandow Sr.