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North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve extends beyond the Six Mountains

We’ve come to identify North Cowichan’s 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve as the Six Mountains — Prevost, Sicker, Richards, Maple, Tzouhalem, and Stoney Hill.

But there are also several smaller parcels of municipal land that fall within the forest reserve, but are not part of the Six Mountains.

The largest, about 245 hectares, is found in the Grace Road area next to the Chemainus River north of Mount Sicker.

To get there, take Mount Sicker Road next to Russell Farm Market and then turn right on Grace Road. You’ll drive about 15 minutes on an unpaved road that is fairly flat and in pretty good shape before reaching a parking area.

A short walk downhill takes you to the Chemainus River and Lower Banon Creek Falls, and a sandy beach that is popular with swimmers and picnickers in summer. These days, you might find fly fishers wading in the water and kayakers paddling downstream.

There are also several marked trails, including for horse enthusiasts.

While this site is forested, there are plenty of signs of municipal logging in the surrounding area.

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I ventured down several spur logging roads on the drive out, but none led to the river.

What I did find were ungulate fur, bones and hooves, a kid’s plastic toy, an illegal fire pit, and, yes, the shell of a small boat.

The attached map shows the boundaries of the Municipal Forest Reserve, including the Six Mountains and the various other smaller parcels.

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Have you taken the on-line municipal survey on the future of the forest reserve? The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

For details, visit: https://bit.ly/3CojbMU

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— Larry Pynn, Jan. 5, 2023

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