men with hard hats and safety vests load onto forest tour bus

You’ve already heard us declare forest tours as the number one tool in the box of communication devices we use to educate audiences about private forestry practices, so you won’t be surprised to hear we jumped at the chance to don hard hats and safety vests and join some of our larger forest owners as they toured staff and council members from the Association of BC Forest Professionals around private managed forest operations on Vancouver Island.

forest trail

It takes decades to grow a merchantable stand of timber. When your forest land is located right next door to some of Vancouver Island’s fastest growing communities, this leaves plenty of time for community members and recreational enthusiasts—mountain bike clubs, equestrian riding groups, hikers, dog walkers—to grow attached to the land you intend to harvest.

The photo above is a trail located on Island Timberland’s property just outside of Qualicum Beach. The trail was built without permission and is enjoyed by a range of recreational groups and individuals from the local community. When Island Timberlands planned to harvest the site earlier this year, they worked closely with community groups, middle school students and the local mountain bike club to achieve their harvesting objectives while still preserving the trail system.

Island Timberland employees discuss harvesting site

Ken Epps, Morgan Kennah and Kraig Urbanoski describe some of the processes and events they organized to engage community members in the planning and harvesting process, including a bike ride and tree planting once the stand was harvested.

harvest site Vancover Island

The above view of the harvested site is from the logging road. The trail is on the edge of the forest. In the foreground is a pile of unmerchantable log lengths awaiting removal by local firewood cutters. Even though the area was only harvested in February 2013, it was already replanted by the time we visited in May.

Kraig Urbanoski talking to forest tour participants

Kraig Urbanoski describes some of the harvesting techniques and methods used to preserve the trail adjacent to the harvest site.

hand felled tree

Evidence of a hand-felled tree just visible from the forest trail.

logging road construction

Tour highlights also included a visit to an active road construction upgrade site to discuss the best management practices employed during planning, road layout, design, construction and maintenance, and the use of riparian areas and additional operational restrictions during harvesting to protect water quality and fish habitat.

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