Our Forest

The Wells-Barkerville Community Forest is 4,527 hectares of Engelmann Spruce, Sub Alpine Fir and Lodgepole Pine very near the headwaters of the Willow River in east-central British Columbia.

From the north bank of the Willow River, just 400 meters north of the community of Wells, the forest extends about nine kilometers further north, straddling Cornish Mountain and upper Big Valley Creek and extending up the southern slope of Two Sisters Mountain.

The forest’s elevation increases from 1200 meters at the Willow River to the subalpine at 1700 meters on the high slope of Two Sisters. Most of the forest is in the is in the Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir (ESSF) wet cool biogeoclimatic subzone, but two small fringes on the shoulders of Two Sisters and Hardscrabble mountains are in the ESSF wet cold subzone and one small fringe immediately across the Willow from Wells is in the Sub Boreal Spruce (SBS) wet cool subzone.

The forest is home to Mountain Caribou, an endangered species, and wolverine, fisher and grizzly bear, all species at risk.

Trails in the community forest, particularly on the south slope of Cornish Mountain, immediately north of Wells, provide hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities for local residents and visitors, and the Sugar Loop Trail around the perimeter of the community forest is for snowmobiles and all terrain vehicles.

One quarter of the community forest is defined as caribou habitat, old growth forest, riparian areas, wildlife tree reserve areas and recreation areas in the forest, and these areas are off-limits to timber harvesting.

The community manages the forest by agreement with the Province of British Columbia. This 25 year agreement, signed in 2014, specifies an average of 5,000 cubic meters of timber will be cut each year to help maintain the supply of timber to area sawmills. Half the revenue from this logging is reinvested in the community forest, and the other half is an important source of revenue for the District of Wells.

Access

Non-motorized access

Hikers, mountain bikers, skiers and snowshoers can access the community forest from Dawson Street on the north side of Wells by driving 1.5 kilometers west and north on Hardscrabble Road to the Hardscrabble Bridge across the Willow River. Parking is on the south side of the bridge.

In winter skiers and snowshoers can enter the community forest from the meadow trails to the immediate east of Wells. These trails are usually very wet in summer.

Vehicle access

Vehicle access to the community forest is 8.7km north on the Bowron Lake Road to the 2200 Road, then west on that road past Eight Mile Lake.

All terrain vehicle access

ATV users can access the Sugar Creek Loop around the perimeter of the community forest by crossing the Hardscrabble Bridge or by travelling north at the One Mile junction between Wells and Barkerville.