The conservation group Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) has released a report that suggests two areas slated by BC Timber Sales (BCTS) for potential logging are worthy of protecting, including DL 1313 in Elphinstone, known by some as the Reed Road Forest Reserve.
Elphinstone residents and Area E’s regional district director Lorne Lewis have been lobbying to have the area preserved as a park for some time, and BCTS agreed earlier this year to defer any auctioning of cutblock A91376 until 2019.
The other area ELF calls the Clack Creek Gallery Forest, which includes BCTS cutblock A93884.
The ELF study, conducted by forest ecologist Allen Banner of Smithers, assessed the plant community in the area following the methodology set out by the B.C. Conservation Data Centre and a 2005 sensitive ecosystems inventory for the Sunshine Coast that was prepared by the Ministry of Environment.
“From our own observations of these forests, we sensed that each contained interesting features to warrant BCTS bringing in an independent forest ecologist to provide an ecological assessment. They didn’t – so we did,” said Ross Muirhead of ELF in a release accompanying Banner’s report.
Banner said DL 1313 contains Douglas fir trees anywhere from 100 to 150 years old, which established themselves following a major wildfire with an understorey of sword fern, tall salmonberry, huckleberries, and red elderberry. He also said that the area’s inclusion in the Elphinstone Official Community Plan as “Park, which should be acquired for current and future park use and environmental protection” is a historical precedent that should be considered along with “a focused strategy for rare and threatened ecosystems” when deciding if the area is a candidate for conservation.
Banner comes to similar conclusions for the Clack Creek Gallery Forest, which is in the area ELF has been lobbying to have included in Elphinstone Provincial Park.
“Banner’s report essentially states that the Clack Creek Gallery Forest, while not technically old growth, contains significant older attributes as a mature forest, such as a multi-storeyed canopy, dead standing snags, and a varied understorey of plants. Such mature forest containing red- and blue-listed ecosystems have excellent potential for eventually providing the full ecological functions of old-growth forests,” Muirhead said.
ELF has posted the report on its website at loggingfocus.org