A Forest Practices Board audit found that forest companies and BC Timber Sales (BCTS) did a good job of protecting important scenic areas between Clearwater and Valemount from the visual impacts of forestry activities, according to a report released last Wednesday.
“Licensees did a good job preserving visual quality,” said Al Gorley, board chair. “The only exception was in mountain pine beetle-infested areas, where it was sometimes challenging to reduce the visual impact of salvage logging.
Even so, it was apparent that substantial effort was made to keep the landscape looking as natural as possible, and the board commends the auditees for this.”
The audit examined activities and planning on 73 cutblocks within designated scenic areas along the Highway 5 corridor, which took place between August 2007 and August 2009. Highway 5 passes through areas of exceptional natural scenery and provides access to national and provincial parks.
The five auditees were: International Forest Products Ltd. (Interfor), Wells Gray Community Forest Corporation (WGCF), Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd. (Gilbert Smith), Ainsworth Lumber Company Ltd. (Ainsworth) and Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (Canfor). BCTS, Kamloops Business Area, Clearwater Field Unit also volunteered to be included in the audit.
Objectives for scenic areas are created in legislation and through government land use orders, and must be met by forestry licensees during their operations.
To minimize visual impacts, licensees took steps such as incorporating irregular boundaries, edge treatments and natural landscape features into cutblock design.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government.
The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.