Grand mountains block the horizon in every direction. Clear waters of the Columbia River flowing endlessly nearby. This is Revelstoke, British Columbia, a paradise for those who love the great outdoors.
The opportunity for outdoor sports seem endless in Revelstoke, the mountains always present to provide eternal inspiration. However, this haven was threatened when British Columbia Timber Sales (BCTS) announced that they were going to begin logging operations on Mt. Macpherson in the summer of 2016.
Mt. Macpherson is home to 40 kilometers of top-notch cross country mountain bike trails that climb and descend, twist and turn through a mature forest. Along with incredible mountain biking, well over three thousand people arrive at Mt. Macpherson every year to enjoy trail-running, hiking, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing (savemacpherson.org/).
Upon learning that logging companies would soon be devastating one of Revelstoke’s greatest recreational assets, local residents began to stand up. Letters were sent to the local MLA and the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Their voices were heard by the local MLA Norm MacDonald, who said in a press release on May 10th 2016; “…I believe strongly that the best decisions are made by those who are closest to the land. And my email inbox has been filled with messages that say exactly that. Today, I spoke with the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson once again about Mount Macpherson. I made it clear to him that the people of Revelstoke were committed to saving this important recreational and community asset.”
Over the spring and summer of 2016 and online petition was created, signatures poured in, rallies were organized, and the efforts to save Mt. Macpherson spread wide via word of mouth and social media.
Finally, a compromise was reached between outdoor enthusiasts and a logging company.
Although BCTS didn’t leave Mt. Macpherson untouched, they did their logging with the intent to leave the trails within tree coverage.
While riding the trails of Mt. MacPherson late October 2017 with Kent Christenson , a Revelstoke local and tree planter, we stopped at one section of trail and walked through the small portion of forest that remained between the trail and the clear cut. He showed me his trees that he had planted earlier this summer, and explained how it was interesting to work this area because the clear cut followed irregular boundaries which are dictated by the flow of the pre-established trails.
Signs have been put up to inform trail users about the logging practices on Mt. Macpherson, stating when the area had been logged, when it had been planted, and the specific techniques that had been used.
I have in the past experienced the emotional hurt associated with devastation of beloved mountain bike trails because of developments and logging. This time though, as we continued riding for the rest of the day I was overcome with joy thinking about this coexistence between a logging company and outdoor enthusiasts.
Other communities should take inspiration from this story. You can stick up for what you believe is right, and you should expect results! What’s something you are trying to save, prevent or develop these days? I bet if you feel passionate about it, there will be many others within your community who will have your back.
“Save Mt. Macpherson in Revelstoke.” Save Mt. Macpherson – Revelstoke, BC, savemacpherson.org/.