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Fernie’s Ridgemont area now off limits

Ridgemont area closed as logging gets underway
A map of the closure area. Photo courtesy of Fernie Trails Alliance

The Ridgemont area is now largely off limits to Fernie trail users as logging gets underway.

Starting October 22, there will be no access to the Ridgemont property until logging, wood chipping and cleanup is completed in May, 2019.

Ridgemont Road will remain open for logging trucks during this period but there will be no public access as 1000 truck loads of wood are removed from Ridgemont.

VAST, which is representing property owner Pollyco, has stated that all slash piles will be chipped and removed from the property.

Trails will have an eight metre Machine Free Zone (MFZ) around them to limit damage. What this means is that the mechanical machine will not enter that zone but the arm reach is eight metres and harvestable wood will be removed.

VAST will be installing more signage and gates at most of the access points into Ridgemont stating it is private property with no access during this period of time.

The closure will be enforced with the site falling under WorkSafe BC’s jurisdiction.

Earlier today, The Free Press reported:

The Ridgemont area is now largely off limits to Fernie trail users as logging gets underway.

User groups have been informed by developer Parastone that they will receive a formal closure letter today.

All Ridgemont lands associated with the map (pictured) will be closed until further notice. No access is permitted for the entire area owned by Ridgemont Holdings effective immediately.

The closure impacts dozens of mountain bike trails in the Ridgemont area, while Ridgemont Rd will also be closed to the public.

The Fernie Mountain Bike Club (FMBC) will advocate for physical barriers across affected trails.

Signs have been erected on trails but FMBC President Troy Nixon is concerned many bikers are unaware of the closure, which poses a safety risk with heavy machinery operating in the area.

“Simple signs, it’s just not enough,” he said. “You need to have barriers across the trails.”

The FMBC is seeking clarification on which trails will be affected by the closure.

According to a post by the Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA) on October 3, Kids Stuff, Eric’s Trail, Splitting Bears, Hessian, Bored to Tears, Split Decision and R-Trail will be logged first with 50-100 trees to be left standing per hectare.

The area where 4 Corners, Deadfall, Oh Dear, Faceshots, EVT-CDT, Stumpy, Ich Bin Sofa and Bridget Funda are located will be logged after freeze up (December to January start).

Trails that will remain untouched include Eco-Terrorist (all sections), Kiddy Up, WUD, Queen V, Broken Derailleur, Deadfall (south of 4 Corners), Brad’s Gay Trail and some of Sidewinder.

The FTA advises there will be no logging in this area but some of the trails do border the other zones.

The Free Press has requested comment from the developer after the project plan was revised earlier this month, with logging contractor VAST presenting to council at the October 9 regular meeting.

Signs advising of the closure started appearing on trails in the Ridgemont area in August. File photo