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Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society nears GoFundMe goal

Cottonwood Lake Regional Park has proved to be a popular year-round attraction for locals. — The Nelson Daily file photo

The Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society is close to reaching its goal of raising $50,000 to help save lands located south of Nelson near Cottonwood Lake and Apex Ski Trails from clear cut logging.

The GoFundMe page is close to topping the $45,000 as more than 350 people have donated funds in the past 24 days. The Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society said the organization expects to receive 10 to 20 times in matching funds from grants to help with the cause.

Proponents are concerned the proposed harvest — slated to begin as early as March 1 — will negatively impact the gateway to Nelson and Whitewater, the Apex Nordic Trail network and popular fishing, skating, mountain biking, and hiking trails.

The stop logging campaign was launched following a meeting on the controversial private land harvesting plan, held at the Nelson Rod and Gun Club December 19 where more than 400 people attended.

The standing room only crowd, with some people listening to speakers from outside the doors, heard experts in avalanche control and grizzly bears, a biologist on the effects logging has on wildlife, a hydrologist, as well as representatives from the Nelson Cycling Club, Rod and Gun Club, Nordic Ski Club, Nelson City councillors and Area reps from the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

The area also contains a sensitive wetland ecosystem that feeds two watersheds and local water licenses, an important wildlife corridor for grizzly bears and other large mammals, and potential avalanche zones above the Nelson Nordic trail system and Cottonwood Lake.

The Society said money will be refunded to donors if the campaign proves to be unsuccessful.