An additional 23,810 hectares of old growth management areas now are protected in the Chilliwack District, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.
These old growth management areas were established under the Land Act, following a two-month public consultation process and discussions with First Nations, forestry companies, local stakeholders and forest and biology professionals. All comments received during the comment period were considered when developing these old growth management areas.
Based on comments submitted during the consultation process, refinements were made to specific old growth management areas, including the area near Echo Lake. An additional 4.8 hectares were added to the draft old growth management area to help protect wildlife habitat, including eagle roosting and nesting areas. The provincial government is also considering the establishment of a wildlife management area in the region.
The new old growth management areas protect biological diversity in the following areas:
- Alouette Landscape Unit (2,415 hectares in the Alouette Lake area).
- Fraser Valley South Landscape Unit (1,479 hectares in the Fraser Valley).
- Hatzic Landscape Unit (5,283 hectares in the Norrish Creek and Stave Lake area).
- Pitt Landscape Unit (5,569 hectares in the upper Pitt River drainage area).
- Stave Landscape Unit (5,075 hectares in the upper Stave River drainage area).
- Widgeon Landscape Unit (4,003 hectares in the Pitt Lake area).
In addition to biodiversity, old growth management areas also may protect cultural values. These ecosystems provide plant and animal habitats, are excluded from commercial timber harvesting and may, in addition, provide recreational opportunities.
There are about 55,000 old growth management areas in B.C., covering an area of approximately 3.9 million hectares. About 37 per cent (1.5 million hectares) of Crown land in the South Coast Region is designated as a park, protected area or conservation area. The creation of additional old growth management areas in the Chilliwack District reflects the B.C. government's ongoing commitment to preserve unique ecosystems for biodiversity purposes and the enjoyment of all British Columbians.
To see a copy of the maps and old growth order, visit: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/ftp/DCK/external/!publish/Stewardship/Lower_Fraser_SRMP/
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations