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Drone video reveals the ‘secret’ of North Cowichan’s Maple Mountain

Rainsford Lake contributes to biodiversity of Municipal Forest Reserve

There are not a lot of water bodies in the Six Mountains of North Cowichan, which makes little-known Rainsford Lake an important contributor to biodiversity.

You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of or visited the lake, which is located off an old, overgrown logging road — M500 — up on Maple Mountain.

The main portion of the lake is roughly 200 metres long by 100 metres wide.

There are no sandy beaches — the shoreline is strewn with deadfall and brush — and you might not want to go for a swim even if there were.

But the shallow lake is bustling with water bugs and other aquatic life.

If you know the origin of Rainsford Lake’s name, please drop us a line.

One possible explanation has emerged.

Ken Rainsford of Salt Spring Island has not heard of Rainsford Lake, but said his late father, Frank Rainsford, served as a Victoria-based consulting forester to North Cowichan in the 1970s, but also maybe earlier and/or later. “I remember him going to meetings and that up there,” Ken said. “He did work all up and down the Island.”

Read more about the importance of wetlands:

A draft consultant’s report has estimated 141 species at risk in North Cowichan, including 10 mammals, 21 birds, two reptiles, three amphibians, three fishes, 16 insects, 14 molluscs, 64 vascular plants and eight mosses.

The estimate of 141 does not include species that are extirpated — those no longer living here. Habitat loss (including from logging and development) is a leading cause of species decline in the at-risk coastal Douglas-fir forest.

In response to public concerns, North Cowichan has placed a moratorium on new logging pending a public consultation into the future of the 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve. Parallel talks are also ongoing with local First Nations.

The Six Mountains of the forest reserve are Prevost, Sicker, Richards, Maple, Tzouhalem and Stoney Hill.

Municipal map of Maple Mountain:

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— Larry Pynn, Aug. 25, 2022


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