Road building to conduct thinning logging in the Kimberley Nature Park is set to begin as soon as this week, says Kimberley Nature Park Director Chris Ferguson.
“For the last several months, the Kimberley Nature Park Society has been working with planners from Canfor, a local forest company, on a logging plan that will thin the forest on the southwest side of the Nature Park,” Ferguson said in a press release. “The plan is part of the City of Kimberley’s long-term strategy to reduce the fire risk to the community and to restore a more natural spacing to the surrounding forests. The province of BC is also heavily involved with more funding and guidelines for treating a region that will extend all the way to Matthew Creek.
“A century of suppressing natural wildfires in the forests around Kimberley has resulted in a much denser canopy than would naturally have occurred as well as a buildup of downed trees and woody debris on the forest floor,” Ferguson said. “We have been addressing this issue in many parts of the Nature Park with hand thinning and pile burning for a number of years but after the fires of 2018 it became clear that we needed to accelerate the process.”
The KNPS has been working with Canfor over the summer to identify important ecological values in the area, GPS wildlife trees for preservation and refine the boundaries of Wildlife Tree Patches. A map of the proposed logging can be found on the KNPS website blog which details the areas affected. While no-machine buffers have been placed near the trails in the area, there will be significant disruption to Shapeshifter, Thunder Turkey, Mr. Toad, Jimmy Russell Road, the Front Boulevard, the Army Road and Bear Trail.
“We realize that this is going to have a big impact on the west side of the Park,” said Ferguson. “There is no way we can sugar-coat it. It will be ugly and messy and none of us are going to enjoy it. But we do feel it needs to be done, both for the sake of the town and the Park itself. It will take a few years for things to heal and then hopefully we will have a more natural appearing forest.”
Road building is currently slated to begin as early as this week with logging to start once the ground is frozen and snow arrives in November. Trails will be closed for a time when machines are working near them and the KNPS will post updates frequently on their Facebook and web pages.