A local environmental group is calling for a ban on commercial harvesting of huckleberries in the East Kootenay.
Wildsight’s John Bergenske is urging the Province to take action, as he says companies working near Yahk are picking hundreds of pounds of berries each day.
“There shouldn’t be commercial collection of berries for sale,” Bergenske says. “Hunters are not allowed to sell wild meat, we don’t feel wild berries should be able to be collected at this sort of scale. There needs to be some sort of regulation to make sure that areas are not being so heavily impacted.”
He says bears need large quantities of the wild fruit to survive.
“Bears are known to congregate and come from miles around in order to make use of these patches,” Bergenske says. “If these patches are being heavily harvested for commercial purposes, we feel this could have a long-term impact.”
The Ktunaxa Nation has also raised concerns over the commercial harvest, calling it disrespectful to the land and very destructive to local animals and crops.
They say the crops are in traditional territory and the Nation council has not been consulted regarding the ongoing work.
(Photo courtesy of Robyn Duncan)
– Wildsight’s Conservation Director, John Bergenske
– Jeff Johnson