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B.C. stock trails to bypass endangered grasslands

British Columbia’s provincial government plans to put up funds to help build stock trails in the 100 Mile House area and steer cattle clear of nearby endangered grasslands.

The province on Monday pledged $120,500 for the Canoe Creek Band to build trails for moving cattle in and around Alberta Lake, away from open grasslands, riparian areas and endangered species habitat.

The project, which involves removing and slashing mostly dead, mountain pine beetle-infected pine trees and some Douglas fir trees, is expected to provide employment for up to 15 forest workers, the province said.

The funds for the project will flow through the $26.25 million Job Opportunities Program, part of B.C.’s $129 million share of the federal government’s three-year Community Development Trust.

The program is directed at reducing the impact of current layoffs on workers employed in the forest industry, keeping skilled forest workers around for an anticipated future upturn, and “preserving the characteristics” of the labour force in forestry-dependent communities.

“The ecosystem restoration project offers a substantial opportunity for this very remote community in the extensive grasslands of the Fraser River,” said Mike McDonough, project manager for the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem Development Limited Partnership, in the province’s release.

The partnership’s crews, he said, are “experienced, well-trained, well-equipped and have an excellent reputation for performance.”

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