Community members made sure to share their love and knowledge of the Flat Rock area between Esler down to the Fraser River during a Williams Lake Community Forest meeting held Tuesday at TRU.
Parts of the Flat Rock area will be harvested in the future by the community forest, which is a partnership between the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band.
Looking at a topographical map outlining the block, local resident Bette McLennan said she recreates in the area as a member of the Williams Lake Wanderers Club.
“We’re up there three times a week doing different things,” McLennan said. “We hike, bike, snowshoe. We need to let them know about all the areas we know about.”
Agreeing club member Linda Isfeld said there are lots of meadows they hike through up there.
“It’s a great location because it’s so close to town,” Isfeld added.
Williams Lake Cycling Club president Shawn Lewis said there is an existing network of trails in the area used avidly by cyclists.
“Those trails would lose their lustre if people were riding through clear cuts,” he said.
McLennan asked the community forest’s manager Ken Day if he realized there were dozens of quiggly holes at the northwestern part of the block as well.
Day said he did and under the Forest Planning and Practice Act, the community forest must plan around a comprehensive list of values and objectives such as cultural heritage resources.
Other values include soils, timber, wildlife, water, fish and fish habitat in fisheries-sensitive watersheds, wildlife and biodiversity at the landscape level and stand level and visual quality.
Happy with the turnout at the meeting, Day said all of the information gathered Tuesday will be used to help develop a forest stewardship plan for the block.
“After the stewardship plan is completed then future planning will focus on specifics to guide our practices on the ground,” he said.
Once the stewardship draft plan is completed it will have to approved by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations and then reviewed by the public.
The community forest also has another block north east of Williams Lake — the Potato Block.
A similar public meeting will be scheduled to gather public input some time in January, board member Thomas Foley said.
“If people want to provide comments electronically they can go to the community forest website,” Foley added.