WORCA response to CCF harvest plans
Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association’s response to the Cheakamus Community Forest 2018 Planned Harvesting and Fuel Treatment:
WORCA have reviewed the 2018 planned harvesting and fuel treatment plans presented by the CCF and would like to offer the following comments for consideration. We have appreciated the collaborative nature of the relationship between our organizations and continue to see opportunities to work together to achieve outcomes that seek to serve both parties in a productive fashion in the years ahead.
One thing that would greatly enhance public understanding of the planned harvesting maps would be the inclusion of recreation trails to help our members, and the general public, better orient themselves in understanding the potential impacts of proposed harvesting on local recreation values. We continually receive comments that our members do not understand where these proposed harvest areas are, and more effort needs to be made in this regard as the trail data was provided by WORCA to the CCF. Please include recreation trails in future mapping.
We have reviewed the proposed harvesting plans against our trail inventory and interests and generally do not have concerns with C10/C15, in these areas enhanced access and harvesting activities will allow WORCA to act on plans identified in our long term trail development process by connecting existing trail networks with continuous singletrack and add diversity to our recreation trail network. When harvesting is complete these areas will provide opportunities for the community to realize trail connections to and from the existing, but isolated, Jane Lakes network which we have been reactivating with the support of the RMOW over the past 2 years, with further works in 2018 planned. WORCA would encourage the CCF to focus activities in these areas now so as to get ahead of any potential increases in recreational use with anticipated future recreation trail development.
We do NOT support the inclusion of “C01” as a planned harvesting block and would like to re-iterate that we feel harvesting, much less heli-logging, is not appropriate in the immediate Cheakamus Crossing/Function Junction area. This block is located directly in the middle of high use and value recreation trails immediately adjacent to Cheakamus Crossing and Function Junction and clearly visible from both of those locations and highway 99 for those travelling north. “C01” is the obvious remaining patch of old growth on the west flank of Whistler Mountain, in an area significantly impacted by extensive clear-cut logging in the past.
The “C01” planned block is surrounded by some of the highest use trails in the south end of Whistler, including trails accessed via the Whistler Bike Park within the controlled recreation area. The microwave road (West Side Whistler) is one of the busiest access routes in town as it is one of the first to open in the spring and last to close in the fall, in addition to regular winter use as a dog walking and snowshoe route. It is used by hundreds of riders per week accessing AMPM, It’s Business Time, Tunnel Vision, and others. Lower Babylon, See Colours and Puke, High Side, HiHi, and Highline also make up pieces of a highly used loop for intermediate riders. The proposed heli-logging in this area seems excessive and unnecessary while the drop site is within one hundred meters of High Side and HiHi. Use is so prevalent from all sides that controlling public access during harvesting and hauling will be extremely challenging.
Connected with the higher elevation old growth on the western flanks of Whistler, and the last remaining bits in the valley close to Function Junction, this patch of mixed age old growth, provides one last strip of nearly continuous old growth from the valley to alpine and should be retained as such for habitat diversity. We believe this block should be preserved in its current form and harvesting should be shifted to planned areas in C10/C15 as these areas are not currently used for recreation and therefore would be minimal impacts in that regard.
Working with Tom on our Interpretive Forest Far Out/Flashback trail connection plan in conjunction with the proposed fuel treatment prescriptions along Cheakamus Lake FSR (Eastside Main) corridor has shown that we can work together to enhance our forest and protect our community infrastructure while also smartly expanding and connecting our existing trail recreation opportunities in a high use and highly valued area. These fuel reduction efforts are extremely important to the community and will additionally allow for easier and faster trail development after the forest is opened up. This a perfect example of how we can work together for the benefit of the community.
WORCA looks forward to continuing our cooperation and collaboration with the CCF to help realize our trail development goals and plans into the future.
Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association, Board of Directors