The two sides in a debate over a controversial logging plan in Bragg Creek met at a public meeting in the community on Thursday night.

On one side, the province says that logging is necessary for the area to protect it from forest fires but on the other, residents say it will destroy a beloved trail system.

Hundreds of people turned out to speak their mind at the Bragg Creek Centre on Thursday night, and the turnout made opponents to the idea very happy. "It gladdens my heart to see this many people who are interested."

Rick Arthur, who has 38 years of experience with wildfires, says the province's plan is to log a series of firebreaks and despite the recreational area, the province says it's a key part of keeping the community safe. "I'm very very concerned about Bragg Creek from the threat of Wildfire."

The plan isn't approved yet and Sustainable Resource Development says details will be changed based on public feedback.

No matter the facts, residents still believe the plan is an excuse for logging.

"How many thousands of people use it day in, day out, all year round? How do you equate the two values?" says Bragg Creek resident Dave Taylor.

A final decision on the plan is expected by April.