Posted by: Kate | August 15, 2011

Logging Road Exploration

If you camp anywhere beyond the most popular sites on this island, you are going to be traveling on gravel roads, most of them logging roads. Some are just ‘highways’, roads that are used to get from point A to point B. Other roads are what are called ‘active logging’ roads, where you might run into a loaded logging truck coming off a hillside. You need to have your wits about you at all times when on these roads, as the big logging trucks move fast and there isn’t always a lot of room to get out of the way. Once you’ve passed one truck it’s better, as he’ll let the other trucks know you’re on the road.

Logging trucks means logging activity. Although our mills are mostly closed down on this island, we are still shipping logs out at a constant rate. There is much debate over this practise of shipping raw product and not finished lumber, but the fact is that there is a lot of logging still going on in Vancouver Island forests. This is not a terrible thing, it depends on the company doing the logging whether the land is well maintained, well re-planted and managed responsibly. It does mean that there are a lot of roads to allow people like us access to more remote areas.

A recently logged section near Stella Lake.

These roads are about a half hour north of us, and they take us into the southern end of Johnstone Strait, overlooking many small islands right on the ocean.

There is a campsite in the trees at the point.

This area is very popular with fishermen late in the summer as the sock-eye and chinook salmon move through the area.

I am so planning on camping here next summer when we have sunshine in July.

Same campsite, looking across the little river mouth.

When I lived in Victoria and was in high school, I had very definite opinions on forestry. It was all bad. As I’ve lived up here and explored more, I find my opinions muddied. I don’t like to see forests cut down, and I don’t like to see truckloads of raw logs shipped out across the ocean. But I also spend enough time out there that I know there is a lot of forested area not logged. The entire top half of the island is forest, with small pockets of forestry action. You can look for miles and just see little patches of open area in a sea of forest. It provides jobs and a living for many families in this town and on the island.

It is ugly though, that I do know. It makes you look, and often creates an emotional response.

South arm of Stella Lake.

One way or another, logging is a big part of living in this amazing, resource-rich place in the country, especially when you spend so much time in the outdoors.

PS If you like Star Wars lego, or Star Wars clones, please check out Bushboy’s post on the family blog: West Coast Bloggers.



  1. i’ll agree with you that my opinions of logging have changed since my youthful days of “everything is black and white.”
    logging definitely falls into that “grey” category… i guess i feel that when it is done in a responsible manner it’s hard to be against it… seeing as how i use the products from logging all the time.

    your photos are gorgeous, i would love to camp there! i’ll look forward to your pictures next summer!

  2. I definitely think that logged areas aren’t as beautiful as the more pristine older forests…and I think that companies/agencies can definitely overdo it or do it in a non-sustainable way. But considering that I devote my life to studying a species that requires disturbed areas (meaning early succession) for foraging, I look at logging now as ‘habitat improvement’ for deer and elk. As well as many other species that require either early successional stands or a mixed mosaic forest (most of the ‘old growth’ species like spotted owls actually need mixed forests despite what most people think). Our fire control policy leaves logging as the only way to get these types of forests so in my mind, it’s an eye sore but a necessity for healthy populations of certain wildlife.

  3. logging will always be a grey area for me – when i was a kid my dad was a faller, and now my BIL is a logger, so logging has and does feed members of my family. and yet as an adult i am well aware of the problems with it, and the ugly scar it leaves on the landscape as well as damage to ecosystems. i feel like every time i drive up hwy 28 there are more logged sections to be seen. but yes, it is a part of the life here on the island, and i don’t think that is going to change soon. just keep clear of those big trucks when they’re on the move!

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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