March 2, 2021, Port Alberni, BC ̶ Mosaic Forest Management and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, in partnership with the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, entered into an agreement to work together to prioritize and explore public access opportunities to areas within or adjacent to Mosaic-managed private forest lands in the Alberni-Clayoquot region.
Through this agreement, a working group has been established and has identified its first pilot project: allowing increased public access on a trial basis through Mosaic-managed private forest lands to Scout Beach and Lowry Lake – two provincially managed Recreation Sites accessed via Mosaic’s privately-owned roads. The pilot is expected to launch later this year.
Mosaic is currently evaluating road design, signage and other modifications that would allow the public to safely use this private industrial road in a predictable way. Once safe parameters are established, regular public access through this corridor will be initiated and the working group will evaluate the use, benefits and impacts through the trial period. If this pilot project is deemed a success, with no illegal dumping, vandalism to equipment or gates, or other risks to the forest, the working group will proceed to evaluate access solutions for other areas of Mosaic’s privately owned managed forest in the ACRD, such as access to Mount Arrowsmith Regional Park.
Mosaic currently offers weekend public access to some areas of its private managed forests, but these initiatives are limited by issues related to legal liability, wildfire risk and response, costs associated with illegal dumping and vandalism, and safety concerns related to forestry operations and industrial traffic. It is the intent of the signatories to this agreement to work together to mitigate these impediments to public access to private lands, collaboratively.
“This agreement presents a positive path forward for all parties as we look to facilitate safe and responsible public enjoyment of Mosaic’s private managed forest lands,” said Jeff Zweig, Mosaic’s CEO. “The working group establishes a much-needed forum to mutually address the challenges we face in opening private lands to the public.”
“Backcountry access to recreation sites and trails is extremely important to residents of the Alberni-Clayoquot region,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim and Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Through this partnership agreement, the Province is helping to increase people’s access to campsites, trails and day trip destinations in or near managed forest lands.”
“People choose to live in the Alberni-Clayoquot region in large part because of the area’s natural beauty and the opportunities to enjoy nature and the outdoors,” said John Jack, Chair of the ACRD Board of Directors. “The ACRD sees this agreement as a significant step toward resolving public concerns related to backcountry access to sites within or adjacent to private lands, and we look forward to working with Mosaic and the Province to find solutions that support recreation opportunities.”
About Mosaic Forest Management Corp.
Mosaic Forest Management is the timberlands manager for TimberWest and Island Timberlands – two affiliated companies that have operated on Vancouver Island for over a century, delivering sustainable forest management within their private forest lands and Crown tenure areas. Mosaic employs several thousand people directly and indirectly striving to achieve the positive economic, social and sustainability outcomes from the working forest. For more information, visit mosaicforests.com.
About Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District
The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is situated in the heart of Vancouver Island with one of the most dramatic and majestic landscapes. The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is a federation consisting of member Municipalities; Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet, Treaty First Nations; Huu-ay-aht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Uchucklesaht Tribe Government and Toquaht Nation and six electoral areas; “A” (Bamfield), “B” (Beaufort), “C” (Long Beach), “D” (Sproat Lake), “E” (Beaver Creek) and “F” (Cherry Creek). The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is within the traditional territory of ten First Nations. Established in 1966, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District provides services to their member jurisdictions. For more information, visit acrd.bc.ca
Mosaic Forest Management
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District
Lands and Resources Coordinator