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Ministry seeks comments on forestry plans

Provincial government plans to set aside old growth areas

Foresters are asking for the public’s thoughts on setting aside parcels of old growth trees along the Sunshine Coast to protect biodiversity.

The ministry of forests, lands and natural resource operations is proposing to establish the areas, almost 18,000 hectares in total, along Toba and Jervis Inlets near Powell River and on parts of the Sechelt Peninsula.

The five areas proposed include:

• Homfray Landscape Unit (2,802 hectares) on the east side of Homfray Channel and the southeast side of Toba Inlet.

• Jervis Landscape Unit (4,479 hectares) on the east and north sides of Jervis Inlet.

• Quatam Landscape Unit (2,971 hectares) on the north side of Pryce Channel and east side of Toba Inlet.

• Salmon Inlet Landscape Unit (4,434 hectares) on the north and south sides of Salmon Inlet.

• Southgate Landscape Unit (3,212 hectares) northeast of Bute Inlet and southwest of Chilko Lake.

In July 2012 the ministry added 14,750 hectares to Sunshine Coast old growth management areas in Brittain, Bute West, Bute East, Cortes and Howe landscape units.

According to the ministry, the plan to enlarge the areas is part of the provincial government’s ongoing commitment to preserve unique ecosystems. Establishing old growth management areas provides important benefits to ecosystem management and water quality protection, said a ministry spokesperson in a media release.

The ministry estimates that there is about 25 million hectares of old growth forests in British Columbia with about four million hectares, an area larger than Vancouver Island, protected in management areas.

The ministry is looking for public comments on its plan and copies of the proposed land use, objectives order, background reports and maps showing location and boundaries of the areas are available for public viewing at ministry offices in Surrey, Campbell River and Powell River (7077 Duncan Street) or online. The public has been given until Tuesday, February 18, for submissions.

Written comments can be sent to Chuck Anderson, stewardship forester, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 7077 Duncan Street, Powell River, V8A 1W1.

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