Scientists to remove Douglas firs at Nanaimo River Regional Park

NANAIMO – Trees to be removed to study characteristics of species, create higher value wood.

Scientists are ready to harvest 96 Douglas-fir research trees planted at Nanaimo River Regional park in 1979 in an effort to study the species and create a higher value wood for coastal B.C.

The trees, which make up about eight per cent of a stand in the northwest corner of the park, were planted when the property was privately owned. It was purchased in 2000 by the Land Conservancy of B.C., which supports the harvest.

“As a non-profit organization committed to supporting the continuation of special places around B.C., The Land Conservancy has partnered with educational and research entities throughout its 15-year history to aid in the development of sustainable forestry practices,” said Alastair Craighead, chairman of TLC’s board of directors, in a release. “The Land Conservancy … is proud to support the research taking place in the park today.”

Harvesting will take place in April under the supervision of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, and officials say a particular effort will be made to minimize soil disturbance. A marked bypass trail along the south side of the plantation will be created so park users can continue to enjoy the property.

The stand of trees is managed by the Forest Genetics department of the ministry, as well as the Canadian Forest Service and Yellow Point Propagation.

Diane Brennan, chairwoman of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Trails Select Committee, said the remaining stand of Douglas firs will remain intact.

“While neither agency likes to fell trees in parks, the Douglas fir plantation at Nanaimo River Regional Park was in place long before the lands became a park,” she said. “The vast majority of the trees planted at the site will be left to live on to a very old age, and this is of great benefit to the park and the many people who enjoy it.”

RDN Parks will work with the forest scientists on replacing felled trees with other native species and installing interpretive signage to explain why the trees were removed.