Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg

Forestry ribbons raise logging concerns on Stoney Hill

When forestry ribbons start showing up on trees, you have to think the chainsaws aren’t far behind. When those ribbons are spotted during a pause in logging in North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve, it can be especially troubling.

Icel Dobell of the forest watchdog group, Where Do We Stand, recently came across numerous forestry ribbons while walking on Stoney Hill. “I couldn’t remember seeing them before — and not with that specific wording,” she said.

I went to Stoney Hill to see for myself and obtain the GPS coordinates of two sample trees — one with a ribbon that read “falling boundary,” the other “standing stem harvesting” — and forwarded the information to the Municipality.

Were these on municipal land and what did they signify?

The Municipality said that it appeared the trees and ribbons are located within the forest reserve where “previous preliminary forest engineer reconnaissance work was done in 2018. This ribboning was supposed to be removed to avoid confusion while the forestry review was taking place so I suspect it was just missed when staff were in the field in 2019 to remove any remaining ribbons. When weather permits, we will look at getting these removed to avoid any unnecessary confusion.”

For months now, has been asking about which areas of the 5,000-hectare forest reserve were slated for logging prior to council ordering a halt to new cutting pending a consultation process on the forest reserve?

Are the ribbons proof that Stoney Hill was targeted for logging (outside popular Stoney Hill Regional Park)?

“Not necessarily,” the Municipality relied, saying that “preliminary forest engineer reconnaissance doesn’t mean a specific area would have been acted on, rather it’s the first step in exploring the potential and gathering information for potential future forest management/planning purposes.”

Stoney Hill is a special place. The ribbons are a symbol not just of potential logging, but of a forest ecosystem deserving the highest protection.

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Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg

Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg