Once Upon a Creek

Roberts Creek

If you look at the B.C. Ministry of Forests map that shows the many forest blocks tagged to be logged in the next few years on Mt. Elphinstone above Roberts Creek, you’ll see, tucked away in the bottom far right corner, almost off the map, a forest designated DL 1313. DL 1313 is uniquely situated because, unlike the other forest blocks on the slopes of Mt. Elphinstone, it is surrounded on three sides by houses. It is truly an urban forest.

1313 is so close to local neighbourhoods that you can walk there from Starbucks and the Gibsons IGA Mall: north on Payne, left (west) on Reed Road, up the gravel road still on Reed until you come to a chain blocking a level logging road just off to your right. Here you’re at the eastern boundary of DL 1313.

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“DL 1313 is a hidden secret, a great treasure,” said Tony Richmond, retired forester and author of the book Silviba, who has been concerned for many years with the proper management of our local forests. He believes the forest designated as DL 1313 should escape the logger’s axe.

“DL 1313 has a wonderful ability to grow Douglas Fir. The quality of its eco system makes it uniquely valuable as a conservation reserve,” he said.

The Ministry of Forests knows about DL 1313. The foresters of its logging arm, B.C. Timber Sales, have trekked through 1313. They know exactly how much its stands of Douglas fir will add to the provincial coffers.

But, Richmond said, ordinary citizens are beginning to wake up to the amazing potential of a wilderness forest on their doorstep.

Besides the incredible accessibility, which is unlike any other large swath of undisturbed forest on Mt. Elphinstone, the unique ecosystem of DL 1313 ensures that its Douglas firs grow at a much faster rate than trees of the same age on many of the other forest blocks destined to be cut down, Richmond said: “Truly an old growth forest in the making.”

 To hikers, families and tourists, 1313 looks as they suppose an old West Coast forest should look: tangled underbrush and salal and gnarled, picturesque stands of Douglas fir soaring 160 to 175 feet overhead.

 Of course, Richmond said, the trees of DL 1313 are not yet old growth. There are few 250-year-old forest stands that would be called old growth left on Mt. Elphinstone because of the many fires that have swept over the mountain and through this area in the last two centuries. But the trees of 1313 have escaped fire and logging for more than 100 years and now, because of their phenomenal growth rate, they are majestic.

To save DL 1313 will not be easy. A deadline is fast approaching. The Ministry of Forests’ next five-year local logging plan will be released soon and they’ve asked that requested exclusions be sent to them before the end of this month. To take an upcoming tour through DL 1313 or to add your voice to those who want to save 1313, email Elphinstone Sunshine Coast regional director Lorne Lewis at lorne.lewis@scrd.ca

A special thank you has been extended by the Roberts Creek library volunteers to all those Earth Day attendees who dropped by the library to buy books Sunday during the Creek’s successful Earth Day. The library depends on book sales as well as SCRD and Roberts Creek Community Association funds to remain open.

To send news about your Roberts Creek group, please contact me at creek@coastreporter.net before noon Sundays.

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