Tree spacing and a road built inside the Community Forest for fire mitigation. (Max Winkelman - 100 Mile Free Press)

Province to start ‘rehabilitating’ old forestry roads

The rehabilitation work includes a combined 200 kilometres of road.

The B.C. government week plans to start rehabilitating hundreds of kilometres of unused forestry roads in the Moose Lake and Meadow Lake areas.

Invitations to tender were sent out Friday to local contractors, mainly those affected by recent mill closures or curtailments, with the intent to start the projects by mid-to late-September, said Rob Martin, a land and resource specialist with B.C. Forestry Lands and Natural Resources for the 100 Mile District. The project, which roughly cost about $750,000, is funded by the Forest Carbon Initative, launched in 2017 as a key element of B.C.’s commitment to take action on climate change.

“We’re fully rehabilitating old roads not needed anymore, ones that aren’t going to be used for at least 30 years,” Martin said, noting these include roads that may be used for managing old-growth reserves and old cutblocks. The province will avoid rehabilitating any forestry roads used for commercial purposes or that provide access to private property, he added. It will also leave some ATV access for farmers.

“The big reason is the money came through the Forest Carbon Initiative, to capture carbon. Getting more trees on the land is always a good thing, and protecting moose habitat and just reducing the number of roads on the land … there’s still lots of access out there,” Martin said. “We want to get growing trees.”

The rehabilitation work, which includes a combined 200 kilometres of road for the two areas, will start with the removal of vehicle access to the roads, followed by sending in an excavator to dig up the roads about a foot deep to allow foresters to plant new trees in the spring. Each area will have its own “prescription” planting, depending on what was in the area before, Martin said. In the Moose Lake area, for instance, the trees will include Douglas Fir, Lodgepole Pine and Aspen.

The Moose Lake area is north of Young Lake and south of North Bonaparte Ridge, while Meadow Lake is out by Big Bar.

“A lot of the area we’re going to be planting are old pine areas we’re putting pine back in,” Martin said. “We’re excited to get the project going.”

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