Castle Area Timber Harvesting

A message to Albertans regarding Castle Area Timber Harvesting

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I appreciate the opportunity to share with you some information regarding timber harvesting in the Castle area, which is part of the C5 forest management unit in southern Alberta.

For generations, Albertans and people from all over the world have enjoyed the Castle area. They have hiked there in summer, skied there in winter, watched the wildlife and enjoyed the beauty all year round. And for generations, forest management that includes responsible timber harvesting has kept it that way.

Much of what we love about the Castle we owe in part to timber harvesting. Easy access trails are one legacy. Decades of reforestation have created a healthy forest age range that provides the widest possible habitat to the greatest variety of wildlife, and is more resistant to wildfire, disease and insect infestation.

Contrary to perception, the Castle is not part of the Special Places program. It was nominated, but a local advisory committee that reviewed Special Places recommendations did not endorse the nomination. The program ended in 2001.

Still, the Castle is protected.

In 1998, government established the 94-hectare West Castle Wetlands Ecological Reserve and the 104,000 hectare Castle Special Management Area in the C5 region.

Forest management, which includes timber harvesting, is guided by the larger C5 Management Plan. The C5 plan was prepared with extensive public input and meets nationally and internationally recognized standards for sustainable forest practices, including measures to protect watersheds, biodiversity and recreation.

  • Two-thirds of the C5 area is entirely off-limits to timber harvesting. Of the remaining one-third, harvesting is limited to 1 per cent per year.
  • The current 120-hectare harvest is just over one-tenth of 1 per cent of the harvesting landbase. And it is divided up into 18 blocks of about six to seven hectares each, separated by intact forest, and harvested with consideration for the landscapes, viewscapes and watersheds we all value.

    To help you imagine the scale, think of the 104,000 hectares as pennies on a massive table. The entire harvest area would be 120 pennies, and each cut block would be about seven pennies.

This is timber harvesting for the 21st century – havesting that is in accordance with a sustainable forest management plan, prepared with public input, considering and protecting local values while balancing economic and environmental needs.

For the most up-to-date information on timber harvesting in the Castle area, I invite you to periodically visit:

Sincerely,
Frank Oberle
Minister

 

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Posted: May 25, 2012