Sparwood’s council has received an update on planned logging by Canfor to the west of Sparwood on crown land.
A 19 ha block to the immediate south of the old Sparwood ski hill and immediately west of the Sparwood Disc Gold course will be thinned out as part of wildfire risk mitigation works. The block will not be clear-cut, with Canfor reporting they would do 3m inter-crown spacing.
“We want to open up the canopy enough so a fire cannot leap from tree to tree to tree, and also to clear out the undergrowth such that there’s not enough fuel to ignite a crown fire,” said Canfor representative Paul Freeze.
Two recreational trails pass through the block, including the Matavic trail.
Freeze said that work would be done to mitigate any damage done to the popular trails, though access would be limited for at least a month after works began.
Councillor Amy Cardozo and Mayor David Wilks zeroed in on the need to protect the trail, which is used by snow shoe-ers and fat bikers through winter, and walkers and bike riders over summer.
“As long as we can have some type of mitigation plan to make sure that trail goes back to the way it was so that everyone that uses that trail – which is a lot of people – can use that as soon as possible,” said Mayor Wilks.
Additional questions were raised over timing- with the works set to take place sometime after Christmas. Freeze explained that winter was the preferred time to carry out any harvesting in the area to reduce damage to the ground where the harvesting was taking place, and to any roads where logging trucks would need to transport the trees away from the area.
Mayor Wilks also pointed out the block was very close to residential areas (roughly 100m), noting that with the number of shift workers in Sparwood, “I’m sure one of them will get woken up, and let you know they got woke up.”
The works will be carried out on Crown land, and Freeze said there would be around 100 loads of logged trees hauled from the block. The hauling route is via the Powerline/Water Tower Rd, Sparwood Heights Dr and Arbutus Rd to the Elk Valley Hwy.
Work will begin sometime after Christmas, will take place during the day and will go for about a month.
Discussions are ongoing between Canfor and the District of Sparwood on mitigating any negative effects of the upcoming activity.