Province clarifies its stance on Rose Swanson Mountain logging plan

Mountain slated for logging

As more names are added to a petition to save Rose Swanson Mountain from logging, the province has clarified its stance on the green space.

An online petition to prevent logging in the beloved forest has reached more than 16,000 names with a goal of 25,000.

“Anyone who lives in Armstrong or the surrounding areas knows how blessed we are to live in this beautiful place. One place, specifically, are the crown areas surrounding Rose Swanson Park. The area is filled with trails for all, be it hikers, horseback riders, dog owners and mountain bikers. There is an abundance of wildlife as well as natural water holes and small creeks. The forest scenery is magnificent,” said the petition as it extolled the wonders of the area.

Tyler Hooper, with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said the “Rose Swanson operating area is part of the Okanagan timber supply area. A timber supply area is public land designated by the ministry, in accordance with the Forest Act, to be managed for a range of objectives including timber production.”

One of the claims made online was that there was no consultation before logging was approved, but Hooper stated BC Timber Sales initiated public consultation for the area beginning with its Forest Stewardship Plan in 2014.

“Referral letters were sent out to First Nations and stakeholders, including citizens with adjacent private land parcels,” said Hooper. “Multiple meetings were held with the Township of Spallumcheen, private citizens who've requested field trips and the Armstrong Trail Society.”

Hooper said the BCTS has, and continues, to consult with First Nations on all harvest proposals.

The chief forester, an independent statutory decision maker, determines the annual allowable cut (AAC) for public land in BC.

AAC is the rate of timber harvest determined for an area under the Forest Act and is specified as a volume of wood (cubic meters) per year.

“Rose Swanson has not contributed to the annual allowable cut in many years. Timber harvesting must be spread out between all operating areas in the Okanagan to ensure that all areas of designated public land contribute to the AAC,” said Hooper, adding the area is planned to be auctioned off in the summer/fall of 2021.

“Harvesting, using non-clear cut silviculture systems, will likely begin early winter 2021 and may be completed by the end of that season. Recreation trails will be protected,” he said.

Hooper said the development is broken into 10 small cut blocks ranging in size from 0.5 ha to 7.5 ha. and the “harvest is contributing to a four per cent impact to this sensitive area. The total harvest area is 28.3ha. A map of the areas will be available online in the coming weeks.”

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