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Editorial: Skiing and Logging in the Rossland Range Recreation Site

A tiny part of our winter playground in the Rossland Range Recreation Site; photo by Sara Golling

Skiers accessing Cutblock Peak and environs:  please contain your irritation about the logging operation there that is inconveniencing you – it won’t be there for much longer.  Please stay well clear of the logging -- and please do not park on the logging road, or try to ignore the logging operations.  Here’s why:

First, let’s talk about who is doing the logging.  These are local people, working for Atco, a locally owned and operated company that has been very cooperative and helpful with the Recreation Site.  Atco owns the logging tenure in and around the Rec Site, and owned it long before the Rec Site became a reality. They’re not “the enemy,” regardless of how one feels about logging in general, or the size of the Annual Allowable Cut.  These people are not to blame for government regulations, but they are bound by them.

Next, let’s acknowledge that they’re doing the right thing by logging in the winter – because that does less harm to the soil, and causes no fire hazard.

The logging operation on Cutblock Peak, above Hanna Creek, will soon be complete.  Meanwhile, some skiers have been endangering themselves and impeding the loggers by parking inappropriately and skiing too close to the active logging.

Friends of the Rossland Range Society (FORRS), which manages the Rec site in partnership with the Recreation Sites and Trails branch of the Ministry of Forests,  has a good working relationship with Atco.  That doesn't mean that Atco is going to stop logging in the Rec Site; that was never the intention.  The space is shared; we can hike and ski and snowshoe and mountain bike in the Rec Site – but we need to adjust our access according to where Atco is logging at any given time. 

For instance, in “the  Spider Valley” just south of “Berry Ridge” where the Seven Summits Trails wanders up toward Sunspot Cabin, this winter saw Atco complete a clear-cut operation, clearly visible from the trail in one area – and for a while, it wasn’t very easy to access that valley for skiing or snowshoeing.  Then  Atco moved into the Elgood Creek valley and did some logging there, which is also now finished; and now they are nearly finished with the Cutblock Peak operation.

Atco’s people have been very good about discussing their plans in advance with the recreation community, and have made a few adjustments based on input from FORRS and the Kootenay-Columbia Trails Society.

Please help  maintain that healthy working relationship between the two interests in the Rec Site – the interest of  local people in making a living, and the interest of various people (sometimes the same ones – some Atco workers ski up there too!) including many people from afar, in enjoying the trails, slopes and cabins.

And remember that a loaded logging truck weighs about 90,000 pounds, and may not be able to stop on a slippery winter logging road.