FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2011
A BC Timber Sales (BCTS) cut-block, near Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast, has severely impacted an Old Growth Management Area (OGMA) – a protected zone set aside by The Ministry of Forests, Lands, & Natural Resource Operations.
On the lower slopes of Mt Elphinstone, a remnant old-growth forest protected as an OGMA, has had large numbers of trees from an adjacent BCTS Cutblock A42706 fall into its boundary affecting its long-term integrity. The OGMA, located within the Gough Creek watershed, contains many old-growth features including tall (220ft) Douglas Firs as old as 500 years, nurse logs spanning 100’s ft in length, dead standing wildlife trees, and several trees that have grown unique root structures securing them to steep slopes.
As many as 50 trees from the cut-block have been up rooted by high winds and fallen into the OGMA zone. The trees, mainly cedar, were part of a narrow WTP (wildlife tree patch) strip growing along the top of bank to the OGMA. Other trees in the OGMA were knocked over like dominos. Ross Muirhead of LoggingFocus states, “It didn’t take long for this BCTS block to experience significant blow-down on its western edge. Logging was completed in the summer of 2010 and the next winter storm the first set of trees came down. This past winter another group of trees fell into the OGMA impacting forest aesthetics, soil stability/integrity and increased sunlight/heat inputs from the BCTS clear-cut.”
Strong Georgia Straight gale force winds pelt the Sunshine Coast increasing wind velocities inside many of the clear-cuts resulting in higher than average risk to tree wind throw or blow-down. Muirhead continues, “Based on the significant damage caused here, we believe that no logging should occur adjacent to protected areas, including OGMAs, Provincial Parks, and recreational trails. All intact forests (old-growth) should be left in their natural state and all 2nd growth harvesting on the Sunshine Coast needs to shift to a partial cut system ensuring long-term stability due to the uncertainty of climate change. There continues to be poor planning of cut-blocks by the different operators on the Sunshine Coast where logging is proposed right up against these protected areas”.