Westsyde mountain biking trails impacted by logging operation

Harvesting of douglas-fir beetle kill trees by Tolko Industries has impacted five mountain biking trails in the Westsyde network.

Harvesting of douglas-fir beetle kill trees by Tolko Industries has impacted five mountain biking trails in the Westsyde network, said Williams Lake Cycling Club president Shawn Lewis.

“Obviously we are disappointed because we’re a legal trail network and due process hasn’t been followed,” Lewis said, adding before anything’s done on the land base the club is supposed to participate in some sort of consultation.

“That being said, this is our first negative encounter with industry in town,” Lewis said. “They’ve been very supportive in the past and we look forward to a reasonable outcome.”

The impacted trails with many downed trees crossing them include Spokey Hollow, Sinfull, Max, Booga Wooga and Westside.

Last week the Ministry of Forest’s compliance and enforcement branch imposed  a cease and desist order on the company’s logging activities near the bike trails until an investigation is completed.

“Harvesting was almost complete when the Williams Lake Cycling Club informed the ministry’s Recreation Sites and Trail BC branch,” said ministry spokesperson Greig Bethel, noting Tolko did have a blanket salvage permit for the area.

Tolko confirmed it is addressing Douglas-fir bark beetle in various locations around the community of Williams Lake primarily above Russet Bluff, on Fox Mountain, Highway 20 around Bond Lake and the Westsyde near the convergence of trails on Spokey Hollow.

Notices have been published inviting the public to review and ask questions, as the harvesting is part of a collective and collaborative effort with licensees and the ministry of forests to address fir bark beetle  populations, the company added, promising the trails will be left in a passable condition following completion of salvage harvest activities.