Begbie Falls logging plan a huge concern

By Loni Parker
Area B Director for
The Columbia Shuswap Regional Director 

I am very concerned that logging is slated for Begbie Falls this winter without adequate notification to the residents of Revelstoke and Area B.   Road building has already commenced.

Below is a brief history of planning for the area and a request for proper consultation by Stella-Jones with residents.

Due to public concern regarding logging in the Begbie Falls area in 1990 the Begbie Falls Planning committee was formed to reach consensus on a plan for logging in the area while taking all other resource use into consideration

The plan was completed and approved by the Ministry of Forests in 1993 after a two-year planning process and consultation with the public. Click here to read a copy of the Begbie Falls Integrated Resources Plan.

After the plan was completed the committee met annually to review the Annual Report or as issues arose that needed committee input. Committee membership changed over time except a representative from Revelstoke City Council and the CSRD Area B Regional Director remained as general public representatives.

Some of the issues were:

  • Motor vehicle closure for wildlife purposes.
  • Reviewing the Mt. Begbie Recreational Improvement Association plans for the Begbie Falls vicinity.
  • Discussions regarding visual quality objectives.
  • Reviewing and commenting on Bell Pole’s 5 Year Development Plans.

Since the plan was approved Bell Pole [now Stella-Jones] had no plans to log the area and only suddenly decided this year to include the area for logging.  Operations are slated for this winter.

Over the course of time legislation changed making the BFIRP a non legal document. The committee ceased meeting in 2003 and due to the legislative changes Stella Jones is no longer required to abide by the Plan.

The current logging plans are vastly different from the BFIRP.  There is no requirement for public consultation, however “stakeholders” still needed to be advised. The Revelstoke Cycling Association (they have tenure for their trails) and First Nations were made aware of the plan to log but the general public is still largely unaware.

In the BFIRP plan there were various harvesting techniques including clearcut [up to 5 hectares],  single tree selection, patch selection and a combination of single and patch.

The current plan is to log only by clearcut with 5 hectare clearcuts to the south and 15 hectare clearcuts to the north of the falls.   Please see page 21 [5.2]  Public Response regarding no harvesting at all north of the falls.

While there is no longer a legal requirement to follow the plan there should be a moral component to methods of harvesting the area.  Since the plan was approved recreation has increased exponentially and this needs to be taken into consideration.

I should note that a Fire Smart project was just completed in an area now slated for clear cutting this winter.  This area was chosen for the demonstration project as it has a high level of public use. The project, approved by the Ministry of Forests and Range,  took 5 weeks [at 30 hrs per wk] with 20 members of the BC Wildfire Branch fire fighting crew.

It is in the public interest that the BFIRP be revisited and revised to take into considerations growing public use of the area, wildlife consideration and visual components from Mt MacKenzie.