The B.C. government has taken another step to promote biodiversity and protect old-growth forests by creating an additional 329 old growth management areas, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.
British Columbia’s newest old growth management areas are in the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District and cover about 12,117 hectares, representing over 13% of the 90,587 hectares of Crown forest land base in six landscape units.
Establishing old growth management areas help protect the biological diversity of old-growth forests by ensuring that forest stands from all ecosystem types are protected and land use objectives are met. These areas are excluded from commercial timber harvesting, which helps preserve plant ecosystems, wildlife habitat and cultural values. Over 9% of the new old growth management areas contain rare ecosystems.
The 329 newly designated old growth management areas are located within six different landscape units. Some of them are within existing provincial parks, public recreation sites, trails, campsites, community watersheds, wildlife habitat areas, ungulate winter ranges, land conservancies or First Nations cultural areas.
- Tuwasus Landscape Unit: 1,828 hectares, southeast of Garibaldi Provincial Park and west of the Lillooet River
- Sloquet High Landscape Unit: 1,252 hectares southeast of Garibaldi Provincial Park and west of the Lillooet River
- Sloquet North Landscape Unit: 797 hectares southeast of Garibaldi Provincial Park and west of the Lillooet River
- Sloquet South Landscape Unit: 1,084 hectares southeast of Garibaldi Provincial Park and west of the Lillooet River
- Lizzie Landscape Unit: 1,868 hectares on the east side of Lillooet Lake, from Highway 99 to the Baptiste Smith Indian Reserve at the south end of Little Lillooet Lake
- Mamquam Landscape Unit: 5,287 hectares north of Squamish, from the Mamquam River and Cheakamus River watersheds to Rubble Creek at the south end of Daisy Lake
The process to set the boundaries of these areas began in 2011, in accordance with the Land Act, the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Land Use Objectives Regulation, and the Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan. It also relied on input from natural resource professionals, forest tenure holders and First Nations. A 60-day public review and comment period concluded on July 25, 2014.
The creation of more old growth management areas in the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District reflects the B.C. government’s ongoing commitment to protect old-growth forests, promote biodiversity and preserve valuable ecosystems for the enjoyment of all British Columbians.
- There are currently about 49,000 old growth management areas in B.C., covering almost 3.1 million hectares.
- A total of about 4.5 million hectares of old-growth forest are protected within old growth management areas, provincial parks, national parks, ecological reserves, land conservancies and recreational areas in British Columbia.
- The Sea to Sky Natural Resource District covers about 1.1 million hectares of land on B.C.’s south coast, east and north of Howe Sound: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsq/
- Currently, over 37% of the South Coast Region (which includes the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District) is designated as parks, protected areas or conservation areas.
- Communities in the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District include Whistler, Pemberton, Mt. Currie, D’Arcy, Lions Bay and Squamish.
Maps and legal orders related to these old growth management areas can be viewed online at: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/SLRP/plan109.html
Map of the Sea to Sky District: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsq/OpPlanning/sea_to_sky_district%20map.pdf
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations