Local groups are rallying to keep several logging roads that are under threat of deactivation open.
A number of logging roads that access recreation sites are set for deactivation in the coming years as logging company Stella Jones concludes its harvesting operations in the Revelstoke area for the foreseeable future.
The roads that could be deactivated include the Boulder Mountain Road, McCrae Road, the southern end of the Crawford Road, branches of the Frisby Ridge Road and the South Begbie Road.
“It’s stupid. We don’t want to do it. We have a legal obligation that when we’re done with an area, we have to deactivate it,” said Pat McMechan of Stella Jones at an open house held to seek feedback on the deactivation plans. “We are hoping that enough people will come here today and write on the comment sheets and express their concerns that government recognizes these are high recreation areas and they should have permanent access.”
At the open house maps showing the logging roads that could be deactivated were on display. Numerous people, including representatives from the snowmobile club, ATV club, rod and gun club, and cycling association attended the open house.
The deactivations would restrict access to several recreation sites and trails, including the McCrae hiking trail, Mount Sproat ATV trail, and the Boulder Mountain snowmobile and downhill mountain biking trails.
The good news is that McCrae and Boulder could be turned into Forest Service Roads, meaning the roads are public and government is responsible for their maintenance.
“It’s high public use, so I’m pretty sure I can work something out, but I can’t commit to that because it’s a funding request,” said Andrew Davies, an engineering officer with the Columbia Forest District. “I’ll sit down, we’ll have a logical plan based on input from the public, what’s it going to cost.”
He said taking over the road to Sproat would be more difficult due to liability concerns. “From an engineering perspective this is a red flag for me long term.”
Daniel Kellie, the president of the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club, said the club’s board would be discussing the issue at an upcoming meeting.
“We’ll approach forestry and we’ll see if we can convince them to turn it into an FSR road,” he said referring to Boulder Mountain. More comments would be made after the board meeting.
Andrew Clark, the director for downhill trails for the Revelstoke Cycling Association, said he hopes the government takes over the Boulder Road. “Its such a huge recreation area for so many multi-use groups,” he said. “I think it would be a huge, huge loss all around if it’s not taken over by the MoF.”
Tom Dickson, the president of the Revelstoke ATV club said they would be pushing to have the road to Sproat turned into an FSR. He said the club has made significant investments into the Sproat Mountain trail and the fire lookout at the summit. They are planning on spending more money to fix up the trail in the coming years.
“We’re going to follow through the process, put in our comments and hopefully someone will listen and we’ll go on from there,” he said.
The Rod and Gun Club will also be pushing to keep the roads open. “Our primary concern is the roads are drivable after they deactivate them and that whoever does the maintenance maintains them,” he said. “We understand there’s going to be deactivation but we want it done in a manner that still provides access and provides access to vehicles.”