Competitors in last summer’s BC Bike Race pedal the trails through the Snowden Demonstration Forest. Some of the trails will be affected by road building and logging operations slated to begin this year.

Logging slated for popular Snowden Forest

Recreational trail users are expressing concern over logging plans for the Snowden Demonstration Forest near Campbell River

Recreational trail users are expressing concern over logging plans for the Snowden Demonstration Forest.

Two weeks ago, B.C. Timber Sales posted information online about the road-building and logging operations slated to begin this year.

The government agency is giving the public until March 31 to comment on the plans.

“I’m not against logging, but maybe they could demonstrate something different other than building roads and small clear-cuts,” said Dan Clements of Outdoor Addictions, an avid mountain biker who helped build the first riding trails through the forest in the early 1990s.

Since then, a network of well-planned trails have been built through the forest – located eight kilometres northwest of the city – providing public access for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.

And it’s popularity among mountain bikers continues to grow with its beginner, intermediate and advanced trails. At last July’s BC Bike Race, more than 500 riders, from all over, took part in the competition.

Last October, Canadian mountain biking guru Peter Oprsal toured Snowden with Clements and others, conducting GPS mapping for his “bikepirate” website which gets more than 14,000 hits a month and up to 30,000 visits in the summer months.

“It’s established as a place to go and people come here from down Island – it’s a recreational asset,” says Clements.

It’s also a working forest managed by B.C. Timber Sales.

According to the plan, seven kilometres of logging road will be built this year.

Then, from 2014-2016, logging will occur on six different cutblocks in the forst, ranging in size from three- to 10-hectares.

Some trails will be affected, but the plan is to minimize impacts with recreation users.

“Harvesting and road construction planning for the central Snowden Forest will occur on a low to moderate scale consistent with the recreation resource unit classification,” the plan states.

As well, advance notice will be posted for any trail closures due to logging and, “harvest operations will have timing restrictions designed to avoid events such as the BC Bike Race.”

Ken Clausen of Pedal Your World is also a regular rider in the Snowden Forest.

He’s hopeful BC Timber Sales considers input from the recreational users.

“It kind of sucks. Hopefully there will be new routes through the slash, but it is a working forest,” he says.

 

Quick facts:

 

  • The Snowden Forest is a 2,500-hectare sub-unit of the Sayward Provincial Forest that has been utilized by the Ministry of Forests since the 1980s to promote public awareness of integrated resource management.
  • It is an area with high timber and recreational values, featuring an extensive network of legally established trails and non‐established routes enjoyed by a variety of user groups.
  • The trail routes are maintained by the River City Cycle Club.
  • Detailed logging plans for the Snowden Forest are available at www.for.gov.bc.ca/bcts/areas/tsg.htm
  • Public comments on the logging plan are being accepted until March 31. E-mail comments to: forests.straitofgeorgiatimbersalesoffice@gov.bc.ca or call the local office at 250-286-9300.