Close to 20,000 trees have been planted on Dog Mountain in efforts to make the fire-ravaged area green again.
The Sproat Lake mountain was struck by fire in early July 2015 that consumed about 425 hectares of the landscape, affecting almost 100 per cent of the peninsula. The fire was mainly ground based and consumed almost all of the existing understory vegetation, woody debris and organic soil layers, leaving exposed mineral soils and scorched tree stems throughout much of the area.
The Hupacasath First Nation began salvage operations in late 2016 to recover damaged timber from the mountain and engage in further restoration work.
Of the 20,000 seedlings planted this spring, 7,000 were cedar and the rest were fir trees.
“We’ve applied for an additional cutting permit of approximately another 2,000 cubic metres and that was because [vegetation] were dying later, it was taking time for the burnt trees to start shedding,” said Warren Lauder, forest resource manager with the Hupacasath. “We found more that was worthwhile going after so we’ll log that and plant next spring or fall.”
The original salvageable area was 15,000 cubic metres.
Under a salvage license, the Hupacasath are responsible to make sure the newly planted trees grow above competing vegetation after 15 years.
The First Nations are working with a local contractor, Probyn Logging, who are marketing the salvaged logs to mills on Vancouver Island.
Lauder said any wood that smells like smoke or has been damaged by smoke, Catalyst Paper won’t buy it. He said he hopes any smoke-damaged wood will be sold to the public or organizations for firewood.
“Maybe we can truck it out of there because it’s taking up space for planting,” Lauder said.