The North Cowichan Forest Reserve consists of six major land holdings: Mount Prevost, Mount Sicker, Mt. Tzouhalem, Stony Hill, Mount Richards, and Maple Mountain. This working forest is managed for multiple uses, including harvesting of forest crops for revenues and recreation.
The Municipality established its Community Forest in 1946. These lands remained un-managed until the 1960s when holdings were divided into ten woodlots. These woodlots were harvested by local operators by "diameter limit cutting," which permitted the logging of trees greater than a set diameter.
A diameter limit cut is defined as the harvest of all trees over a specific diameter, typically 14 or 16 inches. By cutting the larger, more valuable trees, this type of cut leads to high-grading, which in a nutshell, takes the best and leaves the rest.
This management of the Forest Reserve continued until 1981, when the Municipality established a Forestry Department overseen by the Forestry Advisory Committee (FAC). The FAC continues to operate today. Current logging practices are now patch-cut with green tree retention, and all harvested areas are planted.
North Cowichan Map
Mount Sicker, Mount Prevost and Richards Mtn are primarily set aside for logging. They have large yellow gates and no trespassing signs. There are some hiking and biking trails but they are primarily working forests.
Mt. Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain are mixed-use mountains, featuring world-class mountain bike trails and hiking trails. The parking lots are welcoming, with trail maps and marked trails. The logging operations are interspersed through the mountains.
Stoney Hill is as of yet, undefined. There are no mountain bike trails and one hiking trail managed by the CVRD. A couple of years ago, a new road was built connecting the ocean front cottages to Genoa Bay Road. There are a few clearcuts on the Mountain and recently some blowdown recovery work.