What's at risk

About the area

The proposed 22.3 hectare (55 acre) cut-block off Bear Bay Road has had it's boundaries flagged by BC Timber Sales and is in the final stages of being packaged for a summer 2009 auction to bidding logging companies. Logging is estimated to begin shortly after. The road into this proposed cut block is just before the hair-pin turn and Mixal Creek bridge. Logging trucks will access this road via the Garden Bay Rd to Bear Bay Rd route (see route map).


The Ecosystems
Inside the proposed cut-block is four SCRD recorded ecosystems; Riparian, Mature Forests, Woodlands and Old Forest (view map). This represents Pender Harbour's highest diversity of ecosystems within an area of this size. It is also home to the last remaining "Old Forest" stand from Pender Harbour to Trout Lake in Halfmoon Bay.

The Trails
There are a variety of trails in this forest that lead to various points of interest ranging from view bluffs to an old heritage Steam donkey engine from 1910. The network of trails leads through old growth forest stands and riparian/wetland areas and connects to the hydro line trails. View a trail map.

Mixal Creek
Roughly 100meters from the proposed logging road lies Mixal Creek. Mixal Creek is the only waterway that connects Sakinaw Lk, Hotel Lk, Catherine Lk, Mixal Lk and Garden Bay Lk together. Coho Salmon and Trout use this waterway to access these lakes and to spawn. In recent years, Mixal Creek has seen a drastic decline in numbers of returning Coho Salmon and as a result Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries has begun closely monitoring and making improvements to the creek to encourage a healthy Salmon population. Watch video of Coho Salmon spawning in Mixal Creek .

Topics of concern

Local citizens, members of various levels of government and scientists are up at arms about this proposed clear-cut for the following reasons:

  1. Logging of Pender Harbour's last "Old Forest" ecosystems
  2. Once making up the majority of forest ecosystems on the coast, old growth forests are now a rare commodity and what's left deserves protection. A map of the ecosystems in this forest can be found here.
  3. Threat to the fragile spawning ground of Coho Salmon
  4. Although existing conservation measures are helping, possible silt run-off from proposed logging operations will potentially have devastating consequences to salmon habitat in Mixal Creek. Click here to watch video of Coho Salmon spawning in Mixal Creek
  5. Safety concern of logging trucks on Bear Bay Rd.
  6. Bear Bay and Hammond Road are two roads that the logging trucks must use to access the proposed cut block. These residential roads have 5 problem areas where blind corners pose safety risks to on-coming vehicles. With the lack of sidewalks or proper shoulders, there is also a serious concern for the safety of pedestrians (which include children and pets) who walk these roads daily. Click here to view a map of the logging truck route danger areas.
  7. Visual impacts of a clear cut from tourist spots
  8. Thousands of residents and tourists alike hike to view points each year to witness the super natural beauty of Pender Harbour. The proposed clear cut above Bear Bay Road will tarnish views from Pender Hill, Sakinaw Lake, Mixal Lake and Garden Bay Lake.
  9. Loss of existing recreational trails and tourist attractions
  10. The forest that the proposed clear cut is effecting is rich in trails that lead through old-growth forest with trees over 20 stories high. Trails also bring curious visitors to an old relic of the past, a moss covered 1910 steam donkey engine that speaks of the early days of Pender Harbour's rich history. The proposed clear cut will destroy the uniqueness of a trail that takes visitors on a interesting journey through a rare variety of ecosystems. View a trail map.
  11. Watershed/Water Quality issue
  12. The proposed cut block lies entirely within the Sakinaw lake watershed - a water source used not only by hundreds of residents but is being considered by the SCRD as an official water supply for the whole of area A. Sections of the cut block boundary are less then 90m from Sakinaw lake. Most residents of Bear Bay road and connecting roads get their drinking water from wells on their properties. There is a risk that a 55 acre clearcut bordering residential land will effect the water purity of shallow wells nearby.

A brief history of events

July 2007 Local residents began discovering flagging going up in the area south of Sakinaw Lk, West of the Hydro lines and above Bear Bay Rd. View BCTS flagged map.

August 15th BCTS notified one resident that they would meet with the resident and other local residents on the 17th.

August 17th around 20 local residents, 3 employees of BCTS, Sheane Reid of the Planning Department of the SCRD and Brian Lee of the Harbour Spiel met at the proposed logging road into the proposed clear cut on Bear Bay rd. and discussed residents concerns.

August 24th The Coast Reporter published an article concerning the August 17th meeting. It can be found here.

September 19th Although always open to the public, the BBSA begins promoting free guided tours along the interpretive trail every Saturday at 1pm.

September 28th The Harbour Spiel features a full page article on Bear Bay Forest and includes a copy of the trail map and cut block boundary

October 3rd The SCRD adds the Bear Bay Interpretive trail to their official trail maps.

October 27th MLA Nicholas Simmons tours Bear Bay Forest. He states that with all the issues being raised, he agrees that this area should not be logged.

November 23rd BC Timber Sales reduces the size of the proposed cut block to 22.3 hectares (55 acres). Although BBSA welcomes this reduction, the negative impacts of this cut block remain.

2008

BCTS postpones the auctioning of the Bear Bay Forest cut block till spring 2009

May 25th A team of biologists study the flora and fauna in Bear Bay Forest during the Bio Blitz event hosted by the Lagoon Society

Oct 28th A representative from the Ministry of Tourism visit Bear Bay Forest and discuss preservation options.

2009

Jun 1st Alliance members commission an independent scientific study to be made of Bear Bay Forest. The report is still pending.

June 5th The Save Bear Bay Forest petition is started with objectives to achieve Regional park status in Bear Bay Forest with a goal of 1000 signatures.

Sep 8th The Scientific report on Bear Bay Forest is published. View it here.

Sep 15th The Bear Bay Forest petition calling for the protection of Bear Bay Forest is completed and the goal of 1000 signatures has been reached! Over 1100 paper petition signatures and 397 online signatures were collected!


photo of August 17th meeting with BCTS staff