Several popular logging roads will remain open after an agreement was reached by the province and logging company Stella Jones to keep them open.
The status of the roads leading to several popular recreation sites, including Mount McCrae, Boulder Mountain and Sproat Mountain were up in the air after Stella Jones announced plans to deactivate them last fall. An open house was held to seek feedback on the planned deactivations.
The company announced today that the roads will now mostly remain open after being converted to Forest Service Roads (FSR), which are maintained by the government.
Here are the plans, according to Pat McMechan, a forester with Stella Jones:
— The Frisby Ridge FSR, now known as Sledhalla FSR, and the Begbie Falls FSR will remain as is.
— The Boulder Mountain road will be turned into an FSR in order to maintain access to the network of mountain biking and snowmobiling trails.
— The Begbie South road, which is 200 metres past the Begbie climbing area parking lot, will stay open and will be maintained by Stella Jones.
— The McCrae Road will become an FSR, however it will end 1.8 kilometres short of the Mount McCrae trailhead. The trail will be extended to a new parking lot.
— The Crawford Road, which extends south along the east shore of the Columbia River, will be turned into an FSR up to the Wallis Creek culvert. The Sproat Mountain trail will still be accessible, but it will require an extra 6.5 kilometres of driving on de-activated roads to reach.
The announcements come the same day the Forest Practices Board released a report saying the province needs to improve the management of the 600,000 kilometres of resource roads in B.C.
“It is extremely difficult for the public and other users of resource roads to have any reliable idea of where roads are and whether they are accessible or safe for travel,” said board chair Tim Ryan in a news release. “Resource roads are a multi-billion dollar public asset and a liability. Government is not managing them to ensure we maximize the positive benefits of public investment in road development and minimize the negative impacts roads can have.”