Ivey Lake plan a 'balancing act' 

The Ivey Lake Local Resource Use Plan has not been receiving very much public comment since being released in June, says the Squamish Forest District’s planning officer.

"It’s quite disappointing," Norbert Greiancher told Pique Newsmagazine last week in an telephone interview.

The Ivey Lake area is located four kilometres northeast of Pemberton and the adjacent forested area – hemmed in by MacKenzie Basin and Mosquito Lake – was slated to be logged in the early 1990s.

Local residents voiced their concerns over the forest district’s plans and the Ivey Lake LRUP planning team was formed in 1996 to hammer out a workable deal that took a variety of resources and activities into account.

The forested area above Ivey Lake contains a drinking water source; fish and wildlife habitat; and timber and botanical products – such as pine mushrooms – that can be harvested.

The area is also culturally significant to the local Lil’wat First Nations and offers a number of recreational activities – including hiking and mountain biking – beneath its canopy of Douglas fir trees.

It took five years but the final draft of the LRUP – which provides area-specific resource management objectives, strategies and prescriptions – is now done.

"Some people are dead set against logging there but they’re actually in the minority," said Greiancher. "Logging will happen there sooner or later."

The area will be harvested under the forest district’s small business program and, according to Greiancher, the wood will most likely stay in the Pemberton Valley.

"We want to emphasize the local component," he said. "It will be a value-added sale and the timber will be harvested and milled by local companies."

Greiancher said the actual rate of logging is quite low. The total amount is 414 hectares but no more than 20 hectares will be harvested within the first 10 years. Selective practices such as heli-logging will be used.

This is not the first time the area has been logged, Greiancher said. "The hillside has been horse logged in the past. It was high-graded. You can still see the stumps."

But logging the area is not the biggest issue.

"We’re trying to find a balance," said Greiancher, noting that the area is heavily used by the public and contains at least three blue-listed wildlife species.

A comprehensive Forest Renewal B.C.-funded wildlife inventory was done during the LRUP process and three at-risk species were identified – the northern goshawk, the rubber boa and the tailed frog.

The Forest Practices Code – which is being reviewed by the Liberal government in Victoria – includes provisions to protect at-risk species.

"If we find a goshawk nest, we will stop logging," Greiancher said, adding that rubber boa and tailed frog habitat will be affected by the harvesting plans.

The Ivey Lake area also falls under a more general land-use plan as well. The Sea-to-Sky Land and Resource Management Plan is currently in the development process and is scheduled for final approval in the fall of 2002.

"We’re committed to doing things in a responsible way," Greiancher said. "It’s an ongoing process and it’s very sensitive.

"The whole plan is a balancing act."

The forest district will be accepting public comments on the LRUP until mid-July. Contact the Squamish office at 604-898-2100 to request a copy of the plan.

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