BC Timber Sales, a forest resources extractor for the Campbell River region of Canada, has announced that it would be changing the road building and timber harvesting plans for the Snowden Demonstration Forest.
The announcement was released earlier this week, with the Campbell River Mirror reporting it first. The news agency explained that the decision would especially come as a relief to mountain bikers and other outdoor activity enthusiasts in the region.
Balancing the Forest’s Use
In the past, local groups even volunteered to build a trail and promote the forest as a tourist hotspot through several organized events. Several agencies help to manage the conduction of recreational events there.
However, the forest is also a strategic point. Located in the Northwest region of Campbell River, Snowden Forest is a part of the North Island Timber Supply Area and has sometimes been used to meet timber-cutting requirements.
For the past three years, local governments and outdoor activity enthusiasts have pushed back against plans to harvest timber from the forest. Most even asked for a long-term moratorium on the activity until a plan can be drafted to balance the forest’s function as both a source of timber and a recreational area.
In its new guidance, BC Timber Sales estimates that the Snowden Forest area could support about 10,000 cubic meters per hectare in harvest. However, they would be limiting harvest to between 5,000 and 6,000 cubic meters per hectare.
They also outlined five blocks for harvesting in the initial plan, although the new guidance confirms that two of those will be used for ecological and recreational purposes.
Other changes include constructing an additional 1.6 km of trail to replace a previously affected portion. All harvesting work will be halted during evenings, weekends, and whenever there are regularly-scheduled events. The public will also know of any future trail closures.
Speaking on the decision to restrict Snowden Forest’s timber from harvesting plans, Snowden Forest advocate Garry Ullstrom said to the news source via Email that BC Timber Sales has listened to the complaints of the people. He added that collaboration is the best way to move forward, as it’s the only way to achieve the common interest.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development also said, “Long-term planning provides confidence that cumulative impacts of harvesting over time are considered and incorporated, as contrasted by multiple, standalone harvest opportunities across the landscape.”
As he added, this development could provide a potential for more collaboration between the key stakeholders in the forestry and recreation industries.
Canadian Planting Season on Hold
The move is coming at a time when the Canadian forestry system is going through a bit of a dry spell, as the coronavirus has forced several operations to halt.
In April, reports confirmed that the planting season in the British Columbia region had been pushed back to this month, as planters had to self-isolate before they start work. In collaboration with BC Timber Sales and the Western Forestry Contractor’s Association, the region’s chief forester requested that planting operations be halted in the meanwhile.
Potential planters will also have to self-isolate and fill in a daily log to show proof that they completed the self-isolation period.
Mikin Fischer, office manager for Dynamic Reforestation Ltd. in Williams Lake, said the log will show potential planters’ daily compliance, as well as whether they reported any coronavirus symptoms. The company alone has about 300 planters ready.