danicaarmstrong

Joined: Jul 2, 2021 Last Active: Jun 11, 2024 iNaturalist Canada

My Grade 1 teacher labelled me a naturalist, and now, with my retirement from law, I have returned to the interests I developed by age 6. I’m on iNaturalist for one reason: to challenge the BC Government’s assertion that Mounts Rose and Swanson in Armstrong/Spallumcheen, North Okanagan, is of “low” wildlife value — a conclusion arrived at seemingly without any inventory or assessment,.
The community has used Rose Swanson for hiking and being in wilderness since the 1920s. The community has been actively seeking protected status for Rose Swanson since the 1950s, and multiple special legal designations have been granted, including Rose Swanson being granted British Columbia’s first designated Sensitive Area ( 1996).. The whole of the 4500 acres ( 1780 hectares) of Crown land, fully within the municipal boundaries of the Township of Spallumcheen, was “reserved” “for the Township of Spallumcheen, for recreation” as of 1984. The Ministry of Forests is the trustee of the recreational interests and values, and yet it subordinates these duties to the objective by BC Timber Sales to meet its Annual Allowable Cut. BCTS and the Ministry turn a blind eye to the biodiversity of Rose Swanson, and literally delete relevant material from maps and ignore facts. They do not “see” the hundreds of Wildlife Trees. They do not “see” stick nests of the Goshawk. They do not see that much of Rose Swanson is important ungulate winter range. They do not see the amphibians, reptiles and flora of the forest floor. They do not bother to determine which mammals reside here: wolf, bear, lynx, bobcat, cougar, coyote, cottontail, squirrels, chipmunks. They do not determine which of the owls reside her: saw whet, Pygmy, great horned, great gray, etc. They do not bother to determine how many species of birds are in the different ecosystems here, and how there is an unusually dense population of pileated, hairy, downy, red-naped sapsuckers. One birder saw a 3-toed woodpecker recently. The Government doesn’t bother to assess the heavy population of pacific tree frogs, Western Toad, long toed salamander, all of which breed in the ponds of Rose Swanson, and live most of their lives in the forest litter. The Government doesn’t bother to determine if the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad, which resides on the slopes of Rose Swanson, breeds in any of the ponds on the top of Rose Swanson. The Government doesn’t bother to assess for the various snake and lizard species, including the common and terrestrial garter snake, rubber boa, and on the south slope, the western rattlesnake, racer or gopher snake. The reason that the Government won’t “look” is because they wish to log, and not encounter any more fetters on logging than is already presented by the Sensitive Area designation and the Reserve for the Township of Spallumcheen, for recreation. Somehow, they think they can sever “wildlife values” from what the recreational users define as their protected “recreational values” — as though being in nature, is not the entire point of recreation at Rose Swanson
Thus, all my observations are from the top of Rose Swanson down to the valley floor between Rose Swanson and Hullcar mountain. Rose Swanson is on the geographic divide between the Okanagan and Thompson, with the Shuswap meeting these other two areas along the north facing slope. It has old growth cedar forest, Douglas fir, larch, ponderosa, bunchgrass and the top plateau is decadent lodgepole that grew in the wake of the Fire of 1934. From the first surveys in the 1800s, Rose Swanson was noted for having extensive deciduous cover, including cottonwoods, aspens, birches, rocky mtn maples, and willows. It is this diversity of old growth forests and the ability of the mountain to hold onto its snow melt in the soils and subsoils that makes Rose Swanson a biodiversity treasure.

Thanks to those of you who help me identify the species of Rose Swanson. Better yet, hike or snowshoe Rose Swanson and bring your camera! Beautiful historic trails criss cross the entire mountain, and will soon be mapped.

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