The province plans to auction an area known as Clack Creek Forest but BC Timber Sales (BCTS) is keeping logging to half the allowed rate, according to Forests Minister Doug Donaldson.
Clack Creek Licence A93884 “will be advertised in the coming weeks,” Donaldson said in a March 29 letter to the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD). “BCTS is voluntarily managing harvest levels at 50 per cent of the allowed rate of harvest for the Mount Elphinstone area, which will further improve the amount of old and mature forest in the area.”
The letter is a response to ongoing efforts by the SCRD to limit logging on Mount Elphinstone until a land use plan for the area is in place. Environmental groups have been pushing to expand Mount Elphinstone Provincial Park.
Donaldson did note that both forest and environment ministries have considered how “connectivity and management of other associated forest values” could benefit the three parcels of forest comprising Mount Elphinstone Provincial Park, especially between the two southern parcels. He said there are no plans to log the areas surrounding those parcels for the next three to four years, “which will enable further unimpeded assessments and discussion.”
The 24-hectare Clack Creek licence is located on both sides of Gough Creek above Highway 101 and within the bounds of the proposed park expansion area.
The province is also undergoing a “modernized land use planning” (MLUP) process with shíshálh Nation in the Elphinstone area. “In considering the balance of interests, investments made, and potential impacts on future MLUP discussions, the Province of British Columbia considers the combination of voluntary management actions by BCTS and regulatory requirements to manage current values during the expected term of MLUP discussions sufficient,” said the letter.
Directors are expected to discuss the letter at the April 11 board meeting, after Coast Reporter’s print deadline. Chair Lori Pratt said in advance of the meeting that the ministry “feels they have heard the community’s concerns and the SCRD will continue to advocate for the entire Sunshine Coast to ensure our voice is heard when provincial decisions are being made that affect our local economic and environmental well-being.”
The same letter said Licence A91376, also known as DL 1313, or the Reed Road Forest, won’t be auctioned until “a balanced management approach has been developed for the area.”