The Rossland Golden City Lions Club has been working to turn protected old growth forest into a community attraction and learning space.
ATCO Wood Products had designated a stretch of old growth forest in a transition zone north of town as an Old Growth Management Area (OGMA) and three years ago asked the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to designate it as a permanent OGMA. Since 2014, the Lions Club has been working to turn that OGMA into an educational forest with the help of ATCO, the ministry and Selkirk College. The plans include developing a trail through the forest and putting up interpretive signs.
“We put together a plan to make it an educational forest, with a very clearly delineated trail that people can stay on, and some signs to identify species of trees, the age of trees,” explains Bill Profili, president of the Lions Club.
Preserving the forest floor is a big priority for the project, which is why creating the delineated trail is such a big part of it. The path will be for foot-traffic only — no wheels allowed.
It’s estimated that some of the trees in the area are 350-400 years old, and the Lions Club is getting help from Selkirk College to age some of them, but aging may not be possible in all cases.
“We’ve run into a bit of a problem with the aging of the trees. We thought we could age the oldest tree of each species, but some of them, the professional foresters are concerned that if we try to age them, we could damage them because they’re so old,” says Profili. “So some of them might just be a best guess by skilled people as to their age.”
So far, ATCO has built a parking lot at the site, the trail has been laid out and the club has a legal agreement with the ministry designating the area for parks and trail and protecting the area from future logging.
Profili gives a lot of credit to the Lions Club’s partners for helping with the work that’s been done so far.
“We’ve got everything all mapped out and GPSed, and students at the [renewable resources program at] Selkirk … have done a lot of work for us, in terms of supplying professional knowledge,” says Profili. “We had the initiative and the idea, but it takes a lot of professional skills to do these things. So between the foresters at ATCO, and [the ministry], they’ve been really good. And the Ministry of Forests in Nelson has really been good in ensuring that we were able to get our agreement in place with Victoria.”
Over the winter, the Lions Club will be looking for corporate sponsors to help pay for the costs of the trail and signage, so that in the spring the club can finish the trail and put up the signs in time for summer.
Anyone interested in sponsoring the project can contact Bill Profili at 250-512-7671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.