The Alberni Valley Community Forest manager is asking members of the public to stay out of active logging areas.
The request is in response to hikers not paying attention to flagged off harvesting areas close to recreational trails along Weiner Creek.
“We have had some hikers walk through the roped off physical barrier and get inside the harvesting area, putting themselves in a dangerous situation,” Chris Law said. “The AVCF took extra precautions during blasting for road construction to make sure hikers had not crossed into dangerous areas but the safest practice is for hikers not to pass ‘trail closed’ signs.”
The roped off area is larger than the actual area being logged, Law said. “It looks like we’re doing more than we actually are. Eight hectares is all we’re harvesting but we’ve roped off a significant part of the trail system on the west wide of Weiner Creek.”
Trails around Weiner Creek have been roped off during the week to allow for logging activity.
Law has ensured all trails have been open on weekends because they are seeing a higher than normal use since the coronavirus pandemic began a year ago. “The Weiner area has never been this busy in wintertime,” and he is seeing more snowshoers in the backcountry around Sutton Pass than usual this season.
“While out for a Saturday snowshoe hike up Sutton Pass we encountered 10 backcountry skier and eight more snowshoers, which is typical of any weekend.”
Law expects logging to wrap up by the end of March. The anticipated yield is 5000 cubic metres of lumber, or the equivalent of 120 logging trucks.
Once the Weiner area reopens for good later this spring, hikers will find the trail a bit different: the AVCF has created a more scenic alternative trail along Weiner Creek. Law is happy with the new trail.
“When I built that section of trail 18 yeras ago I always wanted to move it closer to Weiner Creek because it gives you good views hof the creek and some of the rapids, and a better view of Weiner Falls,” he said. “It also takes you out of the planned harvest area.
“The AVCF is trying to tie the recreation corridors with our riparian areas. (We) usually leave a wider reserve area along our major streams so it is a natural fit to have the trails located in this reserve area along the creeks. The trail is not any longer and we plan to do a bit more trail changes to keep people off the old logging road and in the forested area along the creek.”
All of the community forest’s harvesting plans, active logging and road building operations and trails are posted on their website, www.communityforest.ca. Anyone with comments or suggestions about trails within the forest is welcome to e-mail email@example.com; all correspondence is presented to the board of directors for discussion, Law said.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.