Harvesting of blown-down wood on Maple Mountain set to begin this week. (File photo)

Harvesting of blown-down wood in North Cowichan forest reserve begins

Trail closures expected in some areas

The salvage of approximately 4,200 cubic metres of blown-down trees on Maple Mountain will begin this week.

As well, a request-for-proposals to salvage approximately 1,800 cubic metres of blown-down trees on Stoney Hill and 1,000 cubic metres on Mount Tzouhalem is currently open for bids.

The reactivation of approximately 1,300 metres of wood roads on Stoney Hill to facilitate safe access to the blown-down trees in that area is also set to begin this week, according to a press release from the Municipality of North Cowichan.

In March, North Cowichan’s council decided to proceed with just completing existing 2018 logging contracts within the 5,000-hectare municipal forest reserve in 2019, and to harvest trees that blew down or were heavily damaged in the 2018 windstorm in December.

Council wanted time to consult with the public and determine the best use of the forest reserve before making plans for the future.

RELATED STORY: FORESTRY PROFESSOR PROVIDES TIPS TO NORTH COWICHAN ON ENGAGING PUBLIC ON FOREST RESERVE FUTURE

RELATED STORY: CONCERNED CITIZENS AIM TO PROTECT NORTH COWICHAN MUNICIPAL FOREST RESERVE FROM LOGGING

An inventory of the blown-down wood throughout the forest reserve began in January and some requests for proposal were released in April seeking contractors to salvage the council-approved areas of wood.

“In all blowdown salvage areas, contractors are asked to remove damaged timber only, as long as there are no safety risks of doing so,” according to the press release.

“North Cowichan adheres to the provincial guidelines for harvesting during hot, dry weather and harvesting activities will be postponed if necessary depending on the weather.”

Trail closures, which may include trail bypasses, will be in place during the salvage work on Maple Mountain and will be posted on North Cowichan’s website and at the main entrance off of Osborne Bay Road and at all key trail access points.

Anyone recreating on Maple Mountain is asked to check online at www.northcowichan.ca/trails before hiking or biking to ensure that their planned route is open, and adhere to on-site signage and area closures to avoid any potential safety risks.

For more information on the forestry reserve, visit: https://www.northcowichan.ca/EN/main/community/current-topics/municipal-forest-reserve.html.

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