A Community Struggles against Clearcutting their forest.. BC Timber Sales Calls the Shots.

Posted June 2, 2020 | Categories : 156,ER Proposals,Logging old-growth,Reports |

The following set of emails was sent to me at the beginning of June 2020. It seems that British Columbia is still determined to log old growth forests even though community interests for conservation would suggest that it may be time for governments to consider heeding a different set of values.

From: Elphinstone Logging Focus <>
Sent: May 29, 2020 5:50 PM
To: Chinook Timber Sales Office, Forests FLNR:EX <>; FLNR BCTS TCH Powell River FLNR:EX <>
Cc: Gould, Stacey H FLNR:EX <>; Johnsrude, Allan N FLNR:EX <>; Donaldson, Doug FLNR:EX <>; Lefler, Derek FLNR:EX <>; Johnson, Tom E FLNR:EX <>;; Scharf, Peter FLNR:EX <>
Subject: Dakota Bear Sanctuary (BCTS A87126) History & Values

Stacey Gould
BC Timber Sales: Chinook Division
Timber Sales Manager
46360 Airport Rd.
Chilliwack, BC

Hello Stacey,

I would like to draw your attention to the Dakota Community Watershed and specifically to BCTS Blk A87126 which has a long history of conflict due to its rare combination of  natural & cultural values brought forward by our organization (ELF) and Sunshine Coast Regional District which has watershed related concerns. This has resulted in BCTS delaying the sale of the block for several years, however, your office continues to move ahead on clearcutting this amazing area.

Below is an outline of issues to date that we request that you, as the Timber Sales Manager for this block, reply to.

  • On a March 2020 BCTS 5 year plan, a map shows a different configuration for Blk A87126 (“The Dakota Bear Sanctuary”) compared to earlier designs going back to 2010. See attached the 2010 map to compare.
  • For example: we note 2 additional sub-blocks added to DK42. The one to the east has its own separate access road.  This would suggest that the de-activated road (off Port Mellon Hwy) would have to be re-engineered. This section of road cuts into a steep slope right above Dakota Creek – a salmon bearing river.
  • In addition, DK44 is now shown as one continuous block which differs from the 2010 block design, which had the DK44 divided into 3 sub-blocks each separated by small buffers.
  • The 2010 map showed DK44 blocks having 2 reserve areas (Wildlife Tree Patches?). These reserves don’t show up on the 2020 map.


Please clarify the following:

  • Why has this block has been enlarged, including removal of buffers and reserves?
  • More removal of forest cover and a new road will affect the existing Terrain Stability Assessment.  When will the TSA be updated?
  • Has BCTS taken into consideration the findings of the black bear den report by McCrory Wildlife Services? Will the “den supply” (active, previously used and potential dens) be protected?
  • Has BCTS considered that some of the oldest trees (Yellow-cedar) are growing in this block (one aged at 1,036), along with one significant tree with a wider diameter than the oldest recorded tree in Canada?  Both sites are at approx. the same elevation suggesting similar growing rates. This picture is the largest tree in the block, however when it was taken there was no indication it would be saved. If some Legacy or Monumental Trees are to be protected, what is the criteria being applied?
  • Has BCTS considered the optics of its CMT commissioned report by Baseline Archaeologists being disqualified by the Archaeological Branch? The Branch sided with both Coast Interior Archaeologists field work and its findings and also Millennnia Research’s exhaustive peer review.   Has BCTS applied for a Development Permit to log the registered CMTs, or will all of the registered CMTs be protected?
  • What is the projected quarter that this block could be put up for auction?

Based on the accumulated evidence compiled so far on this significant area, we once again urge BCTS to permanently cancel Blk A87126.  It could be designated an OGMA (protecting the CMTs and ancient Yellow-cedar), a Wildlife Habitat Area (due to the high number of bear den sites), or because of the rare combination of these values an Ecological Reserve.

I’d appreciate a response to this public inquiry within 7-10 business days.

Thank you.

Ross Muirhead

ELF: Forest Campaigner


Reports Site:


Abandoned Bear Den





















On Mon, Jun 1, 2020 at 11:35 AM Gould, Stacey H FLNR:EX <> wrote:


We have a formal process for these kinds of inquiries, which you are very familiar with.  Please continue to participate in our operating plan referral process.

The sale you are requesting information about is a work in progress.  At this time, I can’t respond with certainty to your questions.  If you remain engaged with the operating plan referral process, your questions should be answered in time.



Stacey Gould, MScF, RPF

Timber Sales Manager

BC Timber Sales – Chinook Business Area

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development

Office: 778.704.7097| Fax: 604.702.5711 | BC Timber Sales Website


On June 1, Ross Muirhead of Elphinstone Logging Focus wrote:

Hi Stacey,
Thank you for your reply to my earlier email.

Please include that last letter, regarding Blk A87126 (Dakota Bear Sanctuary) as part of ELF’s  referral input to BCTS’ Chinook Division 2020-2024 Operational Plan for the Sunshine Coast Forest District.
I trust that’s its a dynamic plan incorporating new information as part of BCTS’ continual improvement objectives.
In a closer look at the plan, several more comments and concerns must be included.
  • Out of the 148 blocks listed in this plan, Blk A87126 (Dakota Bear Sanctuary area) is the only timber sale listed as Age Class 9 (years) 251+. 
  • The one exception is a block of 1.4ha (North Lake – Egmont).
  • There are 6 other blocks listed 141-250 years – Age Class 8.  
  • Age Class 9 are trees on average 251+ years encompassing trees 500, 800, 1,000 years old.  The Forest Practices Board report: “Logging Old-growth Forest Near Port Renfrew” February 2011, makes a point by stating:  “For the purposes of this report, the Board describes old growth as stands greater than 250 years old and ancient trees as individual trees that are very large and are, or likely are, more than 500 years old.”  
  • Snowline Research coring study (2014) of one small plot in A87126 found trees ranging in age from 1,036 years, 675, 576, 521 years, and the rest in the 400-300 year range.  Clearly, this forest (on average) meets the criteria of being an Ancient Forest. 
  • In addition, this is the only timber sale out of 148 on the plan, with a dominate Yellow-cedar stand – with Blk DK 43 containing an exceptional 46% Yellow-cedar component. Blk DK 44 -17% YC, DK 42 – 16% YC and DK 44B – 9% YC. The one exception is a block across the Dakota River ((A92904) with 6% YC.  
  • The proposal to log A87126 tells a story, which is a BCTS plan to liquidate one of the the last great ancient Yellow-cedar forests in this Region outside of an existing protected area. 
  • To that end, we urge BCTS and government to change its policy of logging this ancient Yellow-cedar Forest The ecological and cultural values are so high that it warrants a amendment to BCTS’ 5 year plan leading to the removal this timber sale from this current plan. 
  • Anything less, shows a lack of vision falling back on and adhering to an out-dated Forest & Range Practices Act (FRPA).
Thank you for adding the above comments to ELF’s referral input.
Ross Muirhead
ELF: Forest Campaigner

Dakota Community Watershed Cutblocks (FRPA objective not met)

Dear BCTS Planners,  From Ross Muirhead, Elphinstone Focus Group
In reference to the Forest, Range and Practices Act (FRPA) under Landscape Level Biodiversity, the Act states:
Objectives set by government for wildlife and biodiversity — landscape level

9  The objective set by government for wildlife and biodiversity at the landscape level is, without unduly reducing the supply of timber from British Columbia’s forests and to the extent practicable, to design areas on which timber harvesting is to be carried out that resemble, both spatially and temporally, the patterns of natural disturbance that occur within the landscape.

[en. B.C. Reg. 580/2004, s. 8.]

The BCTS blocks in the Dakota Watershed that our organization has concerns with, could be described as meeting the category of  “Ancient” since the average tree age amongst the Yellow-cedar, Red-cedar, Western hemlock, Mountain Hemlock is well within the 500-800 year range, with some individual trees reaching 1,000+ years.  
Expert Reference:
Thus, these forest are resilient to natural disturbance over long-time scales.
In light of the above objective that timber harvesting should reflect natural disturbance patterns within the landscape, has BCTS completed a fire history of the the proposed Blocks A87126 and A92904?  Wildlife would be the main cause of natural disturbance with landslides and pests affecting smaller sub-zones.
Its our position that these Ancient Forests have experienced very little natural disturbance and thus logging does not meet the legislated objective.  
Research of fire history in similar temperate rainforest watersheds (700-1,100M) show that wildfires that do originate in these zones occurs from lightning strikes which may kill the individual tree, may move down the tree to the forest floor, however do not result in significant ground fires. Thus, wildfires at these elevations are NOT stand-replacing events.  
Small spot fires may overlap, however across long time frames (600-800 years). Moreover, the floors of these wet forests are covered in a layer of herbs and mosses which can keep fuel elements wet during drought periods. 
>BCTS has 148 blocks in their Sunshine Coast 2020-2024 plan and thus removing these 2 blocks will not unduly affect the timber supply.  Logging these Ancient Forests is both unsustainable and does not reflect landscape level biodiversity objectives.
To that end, we urge BCTS Planners to remove both blocks from this current plan.
We have cc:d our lawyer (Matthew Nefstead) on this issue.  
Ross Muirhead
ELF: Forest Campaigner
Expert Reference: “Pattern and process in old-growth temperate rainforests of southern British Columbia.” Arsenault, André 1995


Elphinstone Logging Focus