Fire Interface Logging in Kimberley Nature Park
October 2020 Update
Hello, park supporters. Big changes to the southwest corner of the Kimberley Nature Park are imminent. In the coming weeks, road building to support machine logging will begin. We will do our best to give you at least one week’s warning before it starts, and some trail use will be affected. The logging operations will commence when the ground is frozen and preferably covered in some snow, likely later in November.
This post is a reminder of why there’s a great need for this process. Due to the fire suppression measures undertaken in our local forests for close to 100 years, nature has not been permitted to create the ecological landscape that would otherwise exist. Our forests are thick with unnatural numbers of less healthy trees and other woody debris. Open spaces that would have been prime ungulate terrain, especially in winter, have been diminished.
Yes, this machine logging will be very unattractive to most of us, and it will be more obvious than the effects of the hand-cutting strategies that have been used in the park for the last 10+ years. However, Kimberley sits at the highest level of threat on the provincial fire-risk assessment scale. Not only is our town in real danger, but so are the forests that make up the Nature Park. The machine logging will return a significant portion of the land to a much more natural tree type/density scenario.
The KNPS has long worked with the City on thinning in the park for the dual purposes of ecological restoration and fire risk mitigation. Using machines means this work can happen much faster and cover a larger area—making both the park and city safer much more quickly. Ecological restoration is still completely valid, even with machines doing the work.
The KNPS has also worked closely with the forestry tenure holder, Canfor. Since we first learned of their intent to work in this area, KNPS volunteers have been in regular communication with Canfor officials. We have provided wildlife tree (snag) locations, voiced concerns about some roads/landings, and carried out a joint field trip to finalize all of these details on site.
The new forest will reflect traits that the province deems safer from a fire perspective; the work is not based on Canfor’s economic wishes. While Canfor will make money through this project, the province of BC is setting the standards for the end result with a sole focus on reducing fire risk. Until now, the City has always had to ask the province for grants to do the hand-thinning work, and it’s important to realize that now all stakeholders are working with the same goal and basic specifications. Thinning work will continue in the Nature Park for years to come to deal with areas that Canfor will not log this winter.
The KNPS is as nervous about this work as most of you likely are. We are hopeful that our work with Canfor will result in the least possible damage to park values while achieving the fire safety goals, and that the long-term prospects will be better for wildlife, the Nature Park, and our city.
Below is a planning map that shows up-to-date cutting areas, reserve areas, trails, roads and landings. If you have questions, please contact the KNPS using the form at the bottom of our homepage, and we’ll do our best to clarify.