Forestry roads and bridges on south coast examined
VICTORIA – An investigation into how well eight forest companies maintain roads and bridges in the Campbell River, South Island and Squamish forest districts showed generally good performance in meeting legal obligations, according to a Forest Practices Board report released today.
However, the report also highlights potential public safety issues when people use these roads for backcountry access. Given the proximity to large population centres, use of forest roads in these districts is of particular concern.
“During periods of active industrial use, road permit holders, or the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, are required to maintain the roads to ensure they are safe for industrial traffic,” said board chair Al Gorley. “Active roads can pose a danger to the public in the form of large equipment and logging trucks. When roads are not being actively used for industrial purposes, they are only maintained to address environmental concerns, and older roads and bridges may not be safe for vehicles to drive on.”
“The board would like to emphasize that anyone driving on forestry roads needs to be cautious at all times and expect the unexpected,” Gorley said.
The investigators looked at 185 kilometres of active industrial roads, including 31 bridges; 481 kilometres of non-active roads, including 57 bridges; and 20 kilometres of deactivated road. In total, 686 kilometres of road and 88 bridges across the three forest districts were examined.
Forest roads and bridges provide essential access to resources found on public forest lands. Forest management, timber harvesting, recreation, and fire protection, as well as other activities, are all dependent on road access to the forests. It has been estimated that there are more than 400,000 kilometres of forest road within B.C., and the majority of these exist on Crown land.
More information can be obtained by contacting:
Helen Davies, Communications
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4708 / 1 800 994-5899
April 12, 2011