Access Restrictions within Tree Farm Licence 46


Gates restricting access in TFL 46 legal, reasonable

VICTORIA – An investigation about access restrictions within tree farm licence (TFL) 46 on southwestern Vancouver Island concluded that the Ministry of Forests and Teal Cedar Products Ltd. (Teal) complied with legal requirements, and the access restrictions were reasonable.

On July 7, 2023, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from an avid birder who believed that gates, which restricted access to parts of TFL 46, were illegal and unfairly prevented them from surveying birds. Teal sought the ministry’s consent to install gates to protect property and public safety in response to protest activity within the TFL, including the Fairy Creek area.

Normally, the public has the right to use roads to access public land for non-industrial purposes. However, the Forest and Range Practices Act provides limited exceptions for restricting access. One such exception is when the use of a road could potentially endanger property, public health or safety.

The board found that when Teal applied for consent to restrict access, the ministry’s district manager was satisfied that gates were necessary to protect property and public safety. The district manager also specified conditions and Teal complied with those conditions.

“Our investigation concluded that the use of access restrictions, in these specific circumstances, was a legal and reasonable measure to safeguard property and public safety,” said Keith Atkinson, chair, Forest Practices Board. “It’s imperative that such decisions are made carefully considering the legal frameworks and the public’s right to access, balanced against the need to protect against significant risks.”

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board investigates public complaints about forest and range practices on public lands and the appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.


Ainsley Muller
Phone: 604 880-3580

February 29, 2024

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