Seven new archeological sites have been created in the Roberts Creek area to protect trees that were culturally modified more than 150 years ago, a Coast-based conservation group announced last week.
Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) reported Sept. 26 that the seven sites had been registered by the province’s archeological branch after they were identified by two archeologists who inspected the sites at ELF’s request.
The trees are situated on a BC Timber Sales (BCTS) block located about six km north of Highway 101 on the B&K logging road near Cliff Gilker Park, said Hans Penner of ELF.
“Legally the trees can’t be disturbed, but unfortunately, the forest around it can be disturbed,” Penner said. “That’s why we have to protect it in a forest context.”
Penner said his group wants to see a tract encompassing about 50 hectares taken off the BCTS sales list.
“We’re saying they should restrict their sales to previously logged areas. These sites have to be protected. We don’t even know what’s in there — the archeologists only spent two days.”
The seven sites contain 17 yellow cedars that had been stripped of their bark by First Nations people prior to 1846, Penner said.
The bark was used for clothing, baskets, hats and mats, and Penner said Sechelt Indian Band elders confirmed the practice of using yellow cedar “for all kinds of items.” Some band members had visited the site, he added, “and they’re convinced that these are culturally modified trees.”
While ELF’s focus now is on protecting the forest area, in the long term, the site could serve as an excellent educational experience for students, Penner said.
“The bottom line is we’re saying it’s time to set these lots aside, because these trees are irreplaceable,” he said.