BC Timber Sales (BCTS) has postponed logging operations at its Reed Road cutblock while it considers options. Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) hailed this as a victory earlier this month.
“BCTS has deferred or postponed the Reed Road [Timber Sale Licence] – it has not been dropped or removed from our timber inventory,” BCTS planning forester Norm Kempe said. “We are considering our options at this location. The [Sunshine Coast Regional District] has indicated an interest in establishing regional parkland in the area. We have asked to be kept informed of the rezoning process.”
ELF forest campaigner Ross Muirhead said the area, if it is preserved as a park, could be a great asset for the entire region. Muirhead estimated the size of the area at between 20 and 30 hectares.
“We thank the many local residents who made it very clear that logging this forest was not an option,” Muirhead said. “To know that this inter-urban forest will remain standing is a great feeling. This forest is dominated by hundreds of tall Douglas fir trees reaching up to the sky for light, with an associated plant community of salal and fern.”
BCTS public affairs officer Greig Bethel said BCTS is considering its options for the Reed Road cutblock as well as the Dakota Creek cutblock, where ELF staged a roadblock in September.
“It would be inappropriate to speculate further at this time,” Bethel said. “The road-building equipment has been removed from the site for now. However, the contract remains valid and may be restarted or rescheduled.”
The Reed Road Forest Reserve is located at the end of Reed Road outside the Town of Gibsons, and was first surveyed for logging in 2014 as Cutblock A91376. That part of the forest has a watershed reserve status over it and, according to ELF, it is important in regulating water flows to downslope properties.
ELF established a trail through the area that the group is calling an emerging old-growth forest. According to ELF, the SCRD and Squamish First Nation are now in discussions to rezone the land.