BC Timber Sales (BCTS) removed more than 50 hectares of old-growth forest from its harvesting plans for Mount Elphinstone last week after failing to receive any bids from logging contractors.
Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) announced the removal of the four Dakota Bowl cutblocks from the BCTS notice list after BCTS forest manager Don Hudson contacted the group on Nov. 21, the closing date for bids.
“We did not receive any bids today. We will likely retender next spring,” Hudson wrote ELF in an email.
Ross Muirhead of ELF said the group was not surprised that logging companies took a pass on the four cutblocks.
“We always thought the road-building in there was pretty extreme, and since the contractor would have to pay for it, it could be very expensive,” Muirhead said. “I think the contractors looked at the road-building plan and just gave up on it because of a lot of the unknown factors related to building on such steep slopes.”
Muirhead said ELF would continue to lobby to have the cutblocks permanently removed from BCTS’s harvesting plans and was awaiting a report on bear dens in Dakota Bowl after a Ministry of Environment biologist surveyed the area last month.
The group said it has also discovered culturally modified trees and record-sized mountain hemlocks in Dakota Bowl, with ELF member Hans Penner calling it “the largest remaining old-growth forest of its type, at this elevation, on the Sunshine Coast.”
Among the area’s natural treasures, Muirhead said the group discovered the widest known mountain hemlock in the province, at 6.63 metres in circumference. The Ministry of Forests’ big tree registry lists the next widest mountain hemlock, found on Hollyburn Mountain, at 5.99 metres.
In late October, after heavy lobbying by ELF and other groups, BCTS announced it was dropping the 15-hectare cutblock known as the Roberts Creek headwaters ancient forest from its future harvesting plans due to its “unique ecological/cultural attributes.”
At the time, BCTS planning forester Norm Kempe said logging plans for the remaining four cutblocks addressed concerns about slope stability and impacts on the Dakota Creek watershed.