by Tom Koleszar 17 June 2023
Eleven club members headed into the Horseshoe Valley area to learn how forests are regrown after harvesting. Our guides for this trip were Darwyn Koch and Geoff Matheson – both Registered Professional Foresters with Western Forest Products. Our 1st stop was along Dixon Road where we saw a block about to be harvested, and learned a bit about its history, composition, and harvesting and retention plans. From there we moved on to a recently harvest block, and saw a Ministry of Forests silviculture trial testing different Douglas Fir seed stocks. After that we saw forest stands aged 13 and 23 years, and learned a lot about what it takes to get a new forest through its first few years (it isn’t always easy!). Complications arising from drought, Elk browsing and trampling, brush growth, and other tree species can make it quite challenging. It was then time for lunch, and we found a nice spot down at the Canoe Route landing on Horseshoe Creek. Our guides were kind enough to continue answering questions all through lunch!
After lunch we looked at a 55-year old forest that is nearing its 3rd harvest, and learned about the management that has made this possible – mostly aerial fertilisation. The last stop of the day showed us an intensively managed 34 year-old block with impressive growth results – it has been fertilised 3 times, had juvenile spacing done, and some pruning. The growth of the trees certainly shows the effects of all this effort!
Many thanks to our very knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides who provided us with a day of their time and much, much information – including a 17-page booklet for each participant outlining the field trip stops.