June 2005 Update on Fire Interface Planning
A special meeting of the KNPS was held on May 19th to review the work of Tembec's foresters and discuss ways to mitigate the impacts of logging for fuel reduction and pine beetle salvage in the Park. The discussion was led by Russ Hawkins who presented a draft map of the plan. A number of questions were asked and concerns were raised. A field trip into the Duck Pond area was organized and buffer zones around Duck Pond and Third Eimers were expanded. The current plan is to thin a number of areas in the Park concentrating on lodgepole pine and smaller diameter fir and larch. The forest canopy will be opened in many areas and the spacing of trees will be closer to the natural spacing that low intensity ground fires maintained before humans began putting them out. In the southern part of the Park (Sunflower Hill) there will be a few large trees left with lots of open grassy areas in between. In higher and more moist areas of the Park the tree density will be greater but in areas with lots of lodgepole pine there will be some larger openings. Many parts of the Park will not be logged, either because of wildlife tree patches, riparian reserves or the lack of any economical way to remove trees. (The draft boundaries of the cut blocks and leave areas are currently being mapped by GPS and we will post the map on the website as soon as it is available.) Logging will be carried out by feller bunchers and conventional skidders and will take place in the winter on frozen ground and snow. The harvested trees will be loaded onto logging trucks, complete with branches and tops and driven out of the Park to two locations, one in Forest Crowne and one towards Matthew Creek. There, the trees will be limbed and cut to length and the debris will be ground up for chips and hog fuel and trucked to the Skookumchuk mill. Taking the trees out of the Park to process them will reduce the need for landings and slash piles and the pollution from the burning of the piles. The only slash pile in the plan is the one at the bottom of Sunflower Hill from the restoration logging in that area.
We hope that by doing the Nature Park logging in the winter on frozen ground, soil disturbance like this in the area about Swan Subdivision will be minimized. (As will the risk of spread of noxious weeds.)
The Nordic Ski area is being logged in conjunction with the Park and the trees will be taken through the Park to Forest Crowne for processing. A new, temporary road will be built from the Upper Army Road to the Lower Cardiac Arrest and the logging of the Nordic Trails will begin in September and be finished when the snow comes. The trees will travel down the new road, through Myrtle Junction and along an upgraded Duck Pond Road to Forest Crowne. There will be significant changes to upper Duck Pond Trail and the Myrtle Junction area including a new creek crossing and the removal of our wooden bridge. A new section of road is also proposed to connect the Boulevard to the top of Jimmy Russell Road through the flat bench to the south and west of the existing road. The section of Jimmy Russell Road from the S.W. Passage Junction to the Army Road will not be used as a haul road and will be maintained in the future as a trail only. The Duck Pond foot bridge will likely be relocated to the stream crossing on Jimmy Russell Road. We will post a more detailed description of the work being proposed in the Park when the map is available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, call Kent at 427-5404.