BC Timber Sales confirms more Macpherson logging

BC Timber Sales confirmed it will be logging a small portion of Macpherson next winter to prevent the spread of Douglas fir bark beetle.

The proposed cut block will have the biggest impact on the Berm Donor trail.

The proposed cut block will have the biggest impact on the Berm Donor trail.

BC Timber Sales confirmed it will be logging a small portion of Macpherson next winter to prevent the spread of Douglas fir bark beetle.

Rob Mohr and Earl Hunt, foresters with BCTS, presented the news to council at their meeting on Tuesday.

“We’ve encountered just recently an outbreak out Douglas fir bark beetle. We’re going to have to take some action in there,” Mohr told council. “Given the recent controversy we had with harvesting in the past we thought we’d inform council as to our activities so you know what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and maybe a little it where and how we’re doing it.”

The Douglas fir bark beetle is a tiny insect that burrows into Douglas fir trees to lay its eggs. According to the BC Ministry of Forests, it is the principal killer of mature Douglas fir in the province. It usually attacks mature or dying trees, but if its numbers grow large enough in a certain area, it will start attacking healthy trees.

The beetle was the reason large swaths of Boulder Mountain were logged in 2010 and 2014, and a smaller block was logged last year.

BCTS noticed beetle activity on Macpherson last summer, said Mohr. After further study, they found a three hectare patch in the area of the Berm Donor trail.

“It’s not a large area, but it’s quite active,” he said.

He said they found significant amount of “green attack,” which is when beetles attack healthy trees instead of dying ones. “Beetle activity is increasing at this point,” he said. “We’re obligated to take all the actions we can to suppress the activity and also to salvage some of that lost value.”

BCTS plan is to spread a bait pheremone on the trees in the area to lure the beetles in, then harvest the trees next winter.

“The idea is to concentrate the beetles as they emerge in the spring,” said Mohr. “Pheremones will attract them to that stand so we can confine them, rather than let them spread all over the place and do larger damage.”

BCTS will be logging a six hectare block that will mostly impact Berm Donor, but will also touch on Tightrope and Super Happy Fun, according to a map BCTS showed to council. Mohr said the block needed to be silviculturally and economically viable. “We have to have something we can put on the market and feel we can sell,” he said.

The damaged trails will be re-built in the spring.

BCTS met with the Revelstoke Cycling Association about their plans last month. Keith McNab, the president of the RCA, said they understood BCTS was mandated to deal with forest pests.

“We recognize they have to take action to mitigate the beetle infestations,” he said. “We would just like them to keep the amount of trees that they harvest to a minimum.

“Our preference is they log as few trees as is reasonable to mitigate the infestation and with as little disruption to the existing trails as possible.”

The news comes six months after a cut block was logged around the TNT trail last fall.