Caribou, Moose and Predator Research

This summer UNBC graduate student and researcher Jake Bradshaw has continued his research on the interaction of caribou, moose and predators in and near the community forest.

Three types of forest: clearcuts, small logged patches and unlogged forest are being studied to identify

  • their use by caribou, moose, bear and wolves
  • the differences in moose and bear forage

This summer Jake increased the number of monitoring cameras from 57 to 65, the number of vegetation plots being studied for plant diversity from 129 to 184, and is studying 192 browse / pellet plots for measuring wildlife use.

Boardwalk Planned

A boardwalk from the north end of Wells directly into the community forest could soon be a reality.

Wells-Barkerville Community Forest and Wells and Area Trails Society hope to begin construction of the boardwalk this fall.

The first phase of the boardwalk will extend from Dawson Street due north to the Willow River, and a second phase will include a bridge for hikers, cyclists and cross country skiers across the river. From there a new trail will continue north to connect to the east-west Coronado Road.

The boardwalk, bridge and trail will enable locals and visitors alike to take a short evening stroll or use the boardwalk to access the Cornish Mountain trails for longer hikes, mountain biking and cross country skiing.

It will also provide quick and easy access to the forest by teachers and students at the Wells-Barkerville School, who will then be able to use the forest as a living classroom.

Winter Logging 2020/2021

The current plan is to salvage the blowdown that happened last fall. This includes some single trees and a small patch (Blk 13) at the back end of Downey Creek, adjacent to the two blocks that were logged where the new ski trails connects with the road. Then move to the Learning Forest for a partial cut there (Blk 14), then to the 2200 Road to salvage blowdown in the partial cut (Blk 12), as well as strips around Blocks 8 and 10, which were logged in the first cut.
After the blowdown salvage, the piece of Block 9 and all of Block 11, will be cut. These were left last time because the total volume allowed was reached. Estimated total volume if all of this gets completed is approximately 4500m3.

Expansion Meeting July 21, 2020

Community Forest Directors Rod Graham and Ian Macdonald had their third meeting of the year with Quesnel Natural Resource District officials to discuss the process for expanding Wells-Barkerville Community Forest. 

The officials confirmed the community forest could be invited to apply for an expansion. The community forest currently has an allowable annual cut of 5,000 cubic meters and the officials said this could be more than doubled. They said they first must decide if the allowable cut for the land of the existing community forest could be increased before deciding how much additional land could be allocated.

District of Wells Council Directs Wells-Barkerville Community Forest Ltd. to Pursue Expansion

February 11, 2020

Wells-Barkerville Community Forest Ltd. will pursue, on behalf of Wells and area residents, an expansion of the community forest, District of Wells Council decided on February 11.

The Wells-Barkerville Community Forest is, at just over 4,500 hectares, one of the smallest of nearly 60 community forests in British Columbia. The allowable annual cut for the community forest is 5,000 cubic meters. Until recently that was the entire volume of timber allocated to community forests in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area. But in November the provincial government increased the allowable annual cut allocated to community forests in the Timber Supply Area to 77,000 cubic meters. 

Other communities in the area, most notably the City of Quesnel, will want to create community forests and obtain some of the new allowable annual cut.  But Wells-Barkerville Community Forest Ltd has also started work on an application to expand. Wells and area residents will have an opportunity to participate in developing the application, and the final application will be reviewed by the District of Wells Council before it is submitted to the provincial government.

Meeting of Cariboo Region Community Forests

December 2, 2019

A December 2 meeting in Williams Lake of Cariboo Region community forest representatives exchanged ideas and concerns including forest stewardship plans, log markets, cut control and old growth management. Director Paul Galliazzo represented the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest. He later said this was the first regional meeting of community forests but participants agreed it would be worthwhile to meet regularly, with the next meeting to be held some time before the May 27 – 29 annual general meeting of the BC Community Forests Association.

Expanded Community Forests Made Possible in the North Cariboo

November 13, 2019

On November 13 the provincial government announced it is making more timber available for community forests in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area, stretching from Eliguk Lake in the west to the Matthew River valley in the east.

The announcement makes an expansion of the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest, as well as the creation of new community forests, a possibility.

Now 50,000 cubic meters of conifer harvest and 27,000 cubic meters of deciduous harvest is available each year for community forests in the Quesnel TSA, a significant increase from the 5,000 cubic meters per year previously available.

Wells-Barkerville Community Forest Open House

Oct 6 2019

An October 6 2019 Community Forest Open House in the Wells Legion was attended by two dozen community members who provided valuable input to planning future activities.

The Open House was hosted jointly by the Community Forest and the University of Northern BC, and in one-on-one conversations and in small group discussions, UNBC students noted the many observations and suggestions from the community.

Earlier that day, and during the previous day as well, these same students participated in a tour of the community forest, so the students had some familiarity with the area when talking to residents.

For the Open House a variety of maps were spread out on tables and were the focal point for many of the discussions. Community members pointed to particular places in and near the community forest on the maps and described the attributes of those places that are special to them for a variety of reasons. Particular emphasis was placed on recreational and environmental values.

In the process notes were added to many of the maps and these, along with the student notebooks, will provide important information to planning the future of the community forest.

UNBC Field Trip to Wells-Barkerville Community Forest

October 5-6, 2019 –

On October 5 and 6 the community forest hosted a field trip of students from the University of Northern BC (UNBC). The fourth year conservation studies class of 15 students were accompanied by graduate student Chris Morgan and professor Dr. Pamela Wright.

After a brief orientation meeting early Saturday afternoon the students travelled by vehicle to Nine Mile Lake and the north side of Cornish Mountain. Community Forest Directors Ian Macdonald and Rod Graham showed them an area selectively logged in the winter of 2017 – 2018 and areas of forest newly planted during the summer of 2018. Ian and Rod explained the planning, logging and silviculture activities that were involved, showed them the outcomes, and described the dynamics of the anticipated growth of the mature trees left in the selectively logged area and of the newly planted seedlings.

Continuing a short way down Big Valley Creek they examined a series of strip and diameter limit partial cut areas that were logged in the 1950s. They saw the legacy of this practice: ribbons of mature forest interspersed with ribbons of younger trees. Finally, Ian and Rod showed the students stands of dead lodgepole pine on the south slope of Two Sisters Mountain. They explained this was the result of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic of the past decade and discussed strategies for establishing new forest growth.

On Sunday morning, October 6, Ian and Rod took the class on a walking tour of the Learning Forest, that small part of the Community Forest closest to the Wells townsite in which educational programs will be the priority. Ian and Rod described some of the observations and simple experiments elementary school students could undertake in the Learning Forest, and the more advanced research that could be conducted by secondary school students. They also showed the UNBC students the place where a pedestrian bridge will cross the Willow River to provide a direct connection between the Wells-Barkerville School and the Learning Forest.

On Sunday afternoon the students concluded the field trip by serving as note takers at a community Open House.

As the Open House ended Professor Wright described it and the rest of the field trip as an exceptional learning experience for her students.