April 28, 2012: Video by Veronica Alice, http://vimeo.com/41323790, shared under Creative Commons License
THE DAY RD FOREST – ROBERTS CREEK- COULD BE LOGGED BY ISLAND TIMBERLANDS
The past 2 years has seen Island Timberlands (IT) busy logging several Sunshine Coast sites directly above the community of Roberts Creek in the inter-urban forest zone. IT’s private forest lands that were logged in 2010 and 2011 include: District Lot or DL 2387 (Grauman Rd & Mid-Gough Creek), DL 1505 (Clover Rd), and DL 2674 (Brodie Trail, west of the B&K Rd).
IT has only 3 partially un-logged parcels left in the area: Upper Gough Creek (part of DL 2387), The Day Rd Forest (part of DL 2674) and east of Clover Rd (part of DL 1505). The Day Rd Forest is the most heavily used recreational area of the 2, is an important wildlife corridor, contains old forest patches and borders the Mt Elphinstone Provincial Park system.
DL 1505 is a lower elevation forest sitting just north of the Sunshine Coast Golf Club and Cliff Gilker Park. The Shredder Trail starts in the upper Day Rd Forest and cuts through DL 1505 to the power lines. We are calling this section ‘The Three Creeks Forest’ since 3 creeks run through this parcel: on the east we have Roberts Creek, and to the west Clack and Gough Creels merge. This forest is also important to save for its east-west connectivity between the creeks. A new trail has been established off Shredder Trail leading west to Clack and including views of the high bio-diversity area (especially for amphibians) where Clack and Gough merge. Many animal trails (deer, cougar, bear) can be seen leading down to drinking water locations.
Island Timberlands is logging in several contentious areas across British Columbia, including a high profile situation on Cortes Island where local residents are attempting to purchase an IT held forest at the BC Assessed land value to preserve the integrity of sensitive wetlands, old growth trees and a well used trail system. The protection of The Day Rd Forest could be undertaken as a direct purchase by the community and regional governments, however IT would most likely seek over a ½ a million dollars for the ½ section property (since 50% has been logged) which could be a prohibitive amount. Below is how these ‘Private: Managed Forest Lands’ are valued:
• Strathcona Regional District’s appraisal value, March 11, 2010: land value at $323,000 + timber value at $260,000 = $583,000
• Island Timberlands valuation: land value at $555,000 + timber value at $498,000 + $1,053,000 + HST
In 2011, many Sunshine Coast residents were alarmed to discover that the lower half of DL 2674 had been logged. The Day Rd Forest is the northern section of this 120Ha (300 acre lot) holding. The prospects of connecting the lower cutblock with another cutblock to the north (in effect logging the whole of this District Lot) within a span of 1 year is not acceptable to the community and seems to reflect badly on the company to take out these last stands as fast as possible. If The Day Rd Forest is logged then the community is left with a continuous belt of fallen forest affecting a well used trail system in the inter-urban zone.
The good news is that Island Timberlands has several creative options to pursue. IT bought DL 2674 from Weyerhaeuser in 2005 when it was selling its private land holdings on the Sunshine Coast. Weyerhaeuser had purchased the land from MacMillan Bloedel(MB), who purchased thousands of hectares on the Coast from the Crown without respect to 1st Nations land claims. When MB decided to log The Day Rd Forest in March 1997, local residents organized and formed a road block resulting in a series of discussions between the local contractor (Ken Sneddon) and MB. At the end of the day, they were able to secure an agreement on a selective harvesting plan. As a result, the upper portion of DL 2674 is a suitable mix of mature forests containing old growth remnant Douglas Firs alongside small open cut patches. The openings mimic natural disturbances, such as fire. Harvesting activities were carefully done off the main trail network so that when one walks through this forest there’s a sense of balance between the ‘openings’ and the intact forest. This ‘community agreement’ with MB could be broken by Island Timberlands, as the majority of intact mature forests are to be surveyed and logged. The cut patches (now 14 year old regeneration) will then become fully exposed as the mature forest buffers will be taken out leaving behind another brutal clearcut.
When IT purchased this lot from Weyerhaeuser (via MB) they inherited an ‘understanding in principle’ with the Roberts Creek community to maintain a mixed forest. To that end, if any logging was to occur in the upper section, it should only happen in the 2nd growth tree farms and not in the older forests. To respect and maintain the original community forest agreement (of a mixed forest age class), IT should not be back into DL2674 for another 60-80 years. To read about the history of that fight and its outcome, please click here.
However, a much better, bolder solution should be in store for The Day Rd Forest. Considering that IT has pretty much taken out the best of the forests in the Roberts Creek area, The Day Rd Forest (upper half of DL 2674) should be preserved and protected forever in its existing state. IT has only 3 X ½ blocks left. Out of these sections, Day Rd Forest is the higher-value recreational area, a key wildlife corridor & buffer, and close to an existing park system. It’s time for Island Timberlands to give something back to the Sunshine Coast – be a good community citizen and donate the upper section back to the Crown. Currently, there is proposal in front of Victoria, to expand the existing Mt. Elphinstone Provincial Park from a miniscule 139Ha to 1,500Ha. The Day Rd Forest would be a key addition to the park expansion providing easy access to the park with its existing network of trails leading north onto the Elphinstone slopes.
We need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and request that Island Timberlands do the right thing and protect The Day Rd Forest forever. Please direct a letter to IT’s President requesting of him to respect the previous forest agreement, and encourage him to donate this forest as park land to the Crown. Please direct a letter to IT’s President instructing him to respect the previous forest agreement, and encourage him to donate this lot as park land back to the Crown. Go to the ‘Take Action’ page by clicking on the link below. Thank you.
These Forests Are Worth Saving and We Need Your Help.
Your Voice Counts!