CCF reveals 2019 operating plan 

Eight sites targeted for harvesting; three for fuel reduction

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - FORESTING FUTURE The Cheakamus Community Forest's Tom Cole (left) and Jeff Fisher present at an open house.
  • Photo by Braden Dupuis
  • FORESTING FUTURE The Cheakamus Community Forest's Tom Cole (left) and Jeff Fisher present at an open house.

The Cheakamus Community Forest's (CCF) 2019 harvesting and fuel reduction plans were revealed at an open house on Nov. 27, with 23,300 cubic metres and about 105 hectares estimated for log production next year.

That's slightly above the CCF's five-year annual harvest of 21,000 cubic metres (for perspective, a typical logging truck holds about 50m3, depending on species. The 2019 estimated cut would amount to about 460 logging trucks).

Eight sites are targeted for harvesting in 2019, alongside three wildfire fuel reduction projects.

All of the retention logging would be in old-growth forest, said CCF forestry manager Tom Cole at the open house, though fuel reduction will amount to about 30 per cent of the year's annual cut.

"Depending on which projects go ahead, about 30, 35 per cent would be in our second-growth forest, and the remainder would be in our old forest," Cole said.

In 2018, about 34,000m3 was planned for production, and about 14,000m3 will be recovered by year-end (of which about 23 per cent came from the fuel reduction program).

Cole is also proposing that the CCF reconnect an old road system off Jane Lakes Road in 2019, and concentrate industrial access through the Whistler Aggregates quarry rather than the existing Loggers Lake FSR.

"That decision obviously has to be negotiated with (the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development)," Cole said, noting that the CCF board has also yet to discuss the proposal.

"The rationale is to avoid traffic and dust and conflict with people wanting to walk the Loggers Lake road."

About 535 metres of new road is needed, Cole said, with a total cost estimate of about $96,000.

The CCF—a partnership between the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Lil'wat and Squamish nations—covers more than 33,000 hectares around Whistler.

Timber harvesting has been ongoing in the CCF since 2010—much to the chagrin of local nature lovers who would like to see Whistler's old-growth forests preserved.

Whistler Councillor Arthur De Jong joins fellow Coun. John Grills on the CCF board, with an eye to conservation—the first-time elected official has been assigned to Whistler's environment portfolio.

Though he's still getting up to speed on the intricacies of the file, De Jong said he'd like to meet with the Whistler Naturalists to discuss the logging of old growth.

"As I understand it, under the community forest tenure, we have obligations to harvest a specified annual cut, and without some old growth in that composition we don't meet our requirements at this time," De Jong said.

"I'd like to see us, obviously, play by the rules, but transition away from old growth as soon as practically possible."

No matter your views on logging, De Jong said it has to be recognized that the CCF provides Whistlerites with the best possible tenure.

"It's provincial land, it is the tenure that gives us the most self determination, (and) it is done with the most sensitive approach to logging," he said, noting that half of the CCF's 33,000 hectares have been set aside for preservation.

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