Timberwest signs, gates spring up to block access to backcountry

Dear editor,

A couple of weeks ago we went for a drive to check out some of the roads to our favourite camping spots.

READER MIKE CLARKE is disturbed that these signs have spring up on logging roads throughout the region.

READER MIKE CLARKE is disturbed that these signs have spring up on logging roads throughout the region.

Dear editor,

A couple of weeks ago we went for a drive to check out some of the roads to our favourite camping spots and possibly find a new area to add to our repertoire.

Not long after we left the highway, we came across a rather disturbing sign. We turned around and decided to head in another direction and soon discovered that this sign is posted at every logging road in the vicinity. It reads as follows:

No Trespassing.

Private Lands & Roads.

No Entry Except With Express Written Authority from Timberwest.

Gate Subject to Closure Without Notice.

We were very surprised and concerned to find that it would seem that there is no longer any forest land in the Comox Valley area that is accessible to campers, fishermen, hunters, geocachers, hikers, ATVers, etc.

We figured that there must be some mistake. Or some way around it — maybe a way to get permission from Timberwest. We came home and called the local Timberwest office right away.

The friendly lady on the other end of the line informed us that yes — the roads are indeed closed to private use. She didn’t have a lot of other information, but directed us to the Timberwest website. We did some searching and came across a page at www.timberwest.com/community/access.aspx.

Unfortunately, this did nothing to lay our concerns to rest. It would seem that there is indeed no private access to Timberwest lands.

No individuals will be granted permission to have access and user groups will be considered, but only if they meet strict requirements. And these rules cover all Timberwest private land, which stretches from approximately Sooke in the south to the Gold River Highway in the north and covers nearly all accessible forested land in between.

This means that in our immediate area, popular lakes such as Wolf Lake, Quinsam Lakes, and as far as I can tell, most of the Comox Lake area, are now unavailable for private use.

We have spent many enjoyable hours geocaching and camping along these roads over the years. We have always been respectful of the land and avoided areas with active logging.

It is extremely disappointing to not be able to continue to pass on the appreciation of nature to my children and grandchildren. And as a low-income family this is one of our only sources of entertainment.

We don’t travel to Disneyland or Mexico. We don’t go to the movies or bowling. This is what we do, and what we love. It’s a shame to have this lost to us.

I don’t imagine we are the only people around this area who feel this way. Timberwest, please reconsider your actions.

Mike Clarke,

Comox Valley

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