March 6, 2013
Visitors that drive the Sea to Sky highway will be wondering why a scar is developing on the mountain side in Howe Sound, an area that attracts millions of visitors each year. With all the investment in tourism for this area and the millions of hectares of forest in British Columbia, it is logical to wonder why this piece of Crown Land is not protected.
In 2008 the Sea to Sky Land Resource Management Plan was completed. This was a significant undertaken by the Provincial Government. The Sea-to-Sky LRMP lays out general management direction for values identified by First Nations and the Planning Forum, such as water, wildlife, and recreation. It also identifies land use zones to guide the management of resources across the landscape. The Sea to Sky highway, according to the map, is designated “Frontcountry”.
“The Frontcountry Area, which is the gateway through which all visitors to the region pass and where the majority of residents make their home. The Frontcountry Area follows the major transportation routes through the Plan Area from Lions Bay to D’arcy, and has very high visual quality and recreation values that are accounted for in the Area’s management direction.”
Furry Creek residents have been asking about the logging operation beginning directly across the sound in this “visually sensitive” area. According to the Sea to Sky District Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource office, there are no rules regarding harvesting of timber under this plan. However, any tenure licensee has to meet the many guidelines established under the Forests Practices Act. The licensee for this particular piece of Crown Land has met all the criteria so far and a permit to construct the road have been issued as well as permission from Fisheries and Oceans for the log dump. Application for tree cutting has not been submitted yet, but we have been told there will be “partial retention of trees due to visual sensitivity”. In order to find out how much the logging will impact views, it is necessary to call the Forester of the logging company Black Mount. Public input is not a requirement of the tree cutting application process.
Forestry practices have changed over the years but so has the value of a natural Howe Sound to those that visit, live, work and play in this area. We welcome the forest industry to join in the discussion at the Future of Howe Sound Forum taking place on April 13th.
Send us your comments and concerns regarding logging activity in the “Frontcountry” area – firstname.lastname@example.org.