Protect the Elphinstone Old Growth Forest Area in British Columbia from Logging

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A new plan plotting the course of the logging industry on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast over the next five years has placed a treasured forest, home to some of Canada’s oldest trees and an unofficial bear sanctuary, on the chopping block. 

The logging plan for the Elphinstone area, released by BC Timber Sales in late March, includes an abnormally high number of cutblocks for auction for the planning period, according to local conservation group Elphinstone Logging Focus.

Elphinstone Logging Focus unofficially named the forest on Dakota Ridge the Dakota bowl bear sanctuary after the first black bear den study on the Sunshine Coast, in 2015, found an unusually high number of dens in the area.

“I am of the opinion that black bear den activity may be concentrated on Dakota Ridge not just due to old-growth structural availability, but due to the extensive loss of similar habitat in the surrounding region from clearcut logging,” wrote Wayne McCrory, author of the 2015 study.

The study, which was done by McCrory Wildlife Services, concluded that logging in the approved Dakota Ridge cutblocks would destroy 12 dens in one block and 16 dens in a higher elevation block.

Some of the oldest trees in Canada also grow in the 3,361-hectare Dakota watershed, with tree coring showing one yellow cedar is 1,036 years old.

We call on Premier Horgan and the B.C. government to cancel the 63 hectares of cutblocks slated for auction on Dakota Ridge, a roadless high-altitude forest west of Port Mellon, where he believes Canada’s oldest tree may be located.