Tree planting for B.C.’s Interior has been delayed until the beginning of May so that procedures around COVID-19 precautions can be implemented. (Black Press file photo)

Tree planting for B.C.’s Interior has been delayed until the beginning of May so that procedures around COVID-19 precautions can be implemented. (Black Press file photo)

B.C. tree planting season delayed until early May due to COVID-19 precautions

Companies will have to adhere to strict provincial health officer guidelines

Hundreds of potential tree planters poised to work in B.C. began keeping daily isolation logs a week ago in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone that plans to come and work has to spend two weeks filling out this log, describing how isolated they are and if they are having any symptoms,” said Mikin Fischer, office manager for Dynamic Reforestation Ltd. in Williams Lake.

The company has about 300 planters lined up for the season to plant from camps between Clearwater and Fort St. John and Fischer said they are trying to get them to work.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development confirmed that starting this spring, 308 million seedlings were scheduled to be planted in the province over a 10-week period.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to ensure that our operations are in alignment with the direction provided by the provincial health officer.”

With the support of BC Timber Sales and the Western Forestry Contractor’s Association (WCFA), B.C.’s chief forester requested any Interior planting that has not started, be delayed until the beginning of May to accommodate any new guidance or procedures.

Read more: Cariboo wildfire risk management efforts dampened by COVID-19 restrictions

The request further acknowledged that planting already taking place on the Coast or for contractors ready to begin planting, could do so with strict adherence to current provincial health officer guidance.

Collaborative processes between government, BCTS, licensees and the WFCA have been underway to prepare for this year’s planting season in light of COVID-19.

These include camp health and safety procedures, workforce support, communications, and planned ongoing communication with indigenous leaders and local governments.

This year’s tree planting program is in response to legal reforestation obligations, the 2017 and 2018 wildfires and the strategic use of reforestation to mitigate climate change.

“Our reforestation program must take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of workers and the communities they work in,” the spokesperson added.

Dynamic has six camps, but Fischer said they are anticipating that only four or five will be in operation this year.

Planters come from all over, she added.

One is a marathon runner who volunteers with Doctors Without Borders in the off season, another two didn’t return to plant because they recently passed their bar exams.

Fischer said she also received a call from one of the laundromats in Williams Lake informing her they are good to go and ready for the company’s tree planters, but have different rules because of the pandemic.

“I thought that was cool — I love how our community is coming together.”



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
RCMP investigating suspicious trailer found abandoned in Cache Creek

Hazardous materials believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs were found

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Grade 5 student Liam Ouellette and Grade 4 student Trigg Jansen read together in Horse Lake Elementary School’s reading room. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Reading, literacy opens doors to learning

Students at Horse Lake Elementary School seek out challenging reads.

100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile mayor calls on residents to ‘work together’ during pandemic

Mitch Campsall also urges residents to follow the health orders.

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Most Read