TimberWest widens off-road ban
People can no longer use dirt bikes, ATVs on popular logging roads and trails in Nanaimo Lake Road area
Much of the eastern Island, including most of the Nanaimo Lakes area, is now off-limits to dirt bikers and other off-road enthusiasts.
Forestry giant Timberwest banned unlicensed off-road vehicles last summer, but many riders are just now becoming aware of the rule.
Timberwest owns more than 322,000 hectares of land on Vancouver Island, including 33,000 hectares in the Nanaimo Lakes. The company banned off-road vehicles from operating on its campsites starting in 2001. Last year, it expanded it to include forested lands to address concerns about fires and liability from accidents. Exceptions can be made in some instances for groups with liability insurance.
But some riders are unhappy and blame the province for privatizing lands forest companies once held under forest licence tenures.
"I think it's completely unfair," said Shane Glover, 37. He found out about the ban at the Heather Campsite on Cowichan Lake on the Victoria Day weekend.
"It used to be provincial campsite there. Now that it's all privatized, they get to make their own rules."
In 2005, Rich Coleman, then provincial forest minister, transferred lands from tree farm licences to private forest companies, removing provincial control.
Glover sees this as an example of how that privatization further erodes public access to forests. He said a no-riding rule in campgrounds makes sense but extending that to logging roads and forests goes too far.
TimberWest says the policy protects them from loss and liability.
"We're private landowners and we want to keep track of who's on our lands," said Sue Hendell, TimberWest spokeswoman.
A manager at the Heather campsite told Canwest News Services that TimberWest got "scared" after a spate of fires last summer and the death of an impaired off-road operator at the campsite the year before.
Of 88 forest fires reported to the Parksville fire centre last summer, 50 in the Mount Benson-Nanaimo Lakes area were deliberately set. Forty were on TimberWest lands, and in some cases investigators found ATV tracks leading to the fires.
Motorized vehicles, including ATVs and dirt bikes, "can, under the right circumstances, start a fire," said Nanaimo fire chief Ron Lambert.
TimberWest says its new policy is fair.
"Where the group has appropriate liability insurance and meets some basic criteria, we're more than happy to entertain requests for access to some TimberWest lands," Hendell said.
Although Hendell said groups wanting to off-road on Timberwest land can apply to do so, a staff member at the Nanaimo office said no application process exists to access the lands.
Hendell clarified to say, "On a case-by-case basis we are open to entertaining requests for access."
........bummer for us good guys and gals that do frequent the woods huh!..............stan the man
So.....your provincial goverment just GAVE AWAY the title to the lands? Or is it more of a long long term lease....
The government did not give the land away, it was private land to start with. It is a really long story.... here is a shortened and simplified version.
Originally the goverment gave Timberwest a lot of land on Vancouver Island if they built and maintained the railway.
Years ago (many many) the government gave Timberwest the right to harvest wood from crown land if it was attached to their own personal land and they milled and cut the wood locally. Timberwest had to pay for the wood, of course, and they had to replant where they cut.
They created Tree Farm Licences (TFL) which included crown and private land. The company only had to pay for wood cut from the public portion of course.
Recently Timberwest was granted the right to remove their land from the TFL which is why you hear about Timberwest selling or about to sell land that was tenured before.
In the last few years there is someone who has been starting fires on Timberwest lands, so they are trying to control access until they can catch the person/s who are starting the fires.
Personally I would thank Timberwest for allowing access to their land all of these years.
Also if you see anything happening in the woods that just doesn't look right, I would call Ministry of Forests or Wildfire Management.
Just my opinion,
Some of the above information is incorrect.Timberwest is a relatively new player in the game.When the original agreements were first drawn up,it was with companies like MacMillan Bloedel and Crown Zellerbach.Then companies like Weyerhauser put there time in.TW is one of the two big players now but it really hasn't been for a very long time.
Originally Posted by The other Pat
Robert Dunsmuir was one of the founders of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Company which built the rail line from Esquimalt to Nanaimo, later extended to Wellington, Victoria and Courtenay. His company received a grant of land comprising 20% of Vancouver Island as an incentive to build and equip the railway line to be owned and operated by the company.
BTW the land that M&B used to own, was bought by Harvey Reginald ("H.R.") MacMillan in the 20's and 30's. He merged his company with Bloedel, Stewart and Welch Ltd in the 50's to become MacMillan Bloedel Limited which was later raped and pillaged by Weyerhaeuser, who kept the most valuable land and bailed on everything else.
RE atvs in nanaimo lakes
I find it interesting that atvs and dirt bikes are not allowed, when every weekend there are 4 to 5 atvs at those cabins on second lake, are they just for show "I don't think so" if they are allowed , the general public should be. ?
Originally Posted by TH2008
I am a hunter so when I use my atv i am travelling just above walking speed which does no damage to the roads, I also have great respect for any equiptment left in the woods
What's happened with Timber West's plans to sell waterfront property in the Jordan River area? I remember there was a huge stink about that.
I've heard stories that Weyerhauser, which has huge offices in Seattle (they don't even call them "offices" any more, it's a "campus", just like Microsoft, and ultimately opulent) is declaring bankruptcy or seeking bankruptcy protection. Except for the loss of jobs, this will make Seattle folks pretty happy. Weyerhauser is hated down there.
....thanx Pat for enlighting me to the real story of the forest land use and owners.....as I travel the forests almost daily I have been looking out fot those firebugs and trash dumpers on a regular basis......I did not know how the land deals had worked so I am glad to hear it from an insider........stan the man
Originally Posted by The other Pat