Welcome to the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District


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General Information

The 1,100,000 hectare Sea to Sky District lies in a northerly direction from the City of Vancouver. Highway 99 is the major road through the district, entering near Lions Bay and then winding its way along the picturesque Howe Sound to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.

A few of the key industries in the district include tourism, logging, ranching, farming, and a deep-sea port.

Mount Atwell

Photo by Malcolm Schulz: Brohm Ridge looking south over Squamish

The Sea to Sky District also offers a multitude of opportunities for outdoor recreation. In a setting of rugged mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes, visitors enjoy all-season recreation such as skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, wind surfing and camping.

Ongoing highway improvements and the upgrading of Pemberton airport have greatly improved access to the Sea to Sky District. The development of recreational opportunities in the district in general, and the Whistler area in particular, are now such that the majority of outdoor pursuits are available.



Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is the Province’s land manager, responsible for stewardship of Provincial Crown land, cultural and natural resources. Overseeing a land base of 94.8 million hectares, the Ministry ensures the sustainable management of forest, mineral and land-based resources, supports activities that lead to benefits for all British Columbians both economically and environmentally, and facilitates public access to a wide range of activities such as hunting, fishing and recreation. The Ministry is responsible for policy development, operational management and implementation, and oversees 54 statutes and associated regulations.

The Sea to Sky District has produced this website to help you discover the many opportunities it manages for your pleasure. The site also includes information and tips to make your outdoor experience safer and more pleasant. We hope you enjoy your visit to the Sea to Sky District.



Our Mission

Core Business of the Sea to Sky District

The Sea to Sky District is located immediately north of Vancouver in Sea-to-Sky country. The district boundaries stretch from Lions Bay, north to Anderson Lake, extending along the Lillooet River from its headwaters in the west to Harrison Lake in the east. It also covers the Squamish and Indian River watersheds. It encompasses approximately 1,098,000 hectares or 1.1% of the area of BC. Approximately 40% is forested with temperate rain forest and transitional interior forest, made up primarily of coniferous and some deciduous trees.

The 25 personnel in Squamish (representing Field Services, Resource Management Coordination Division, First Nations Consultation, BC Timber Sales, Wildfire Management Branch, Recreation Sites and Trails) are responsible for administering Crown land and forest resources in the field, and for ensuring that resource use by the public and forest industry is consistent with current legislation. Working closely with our local First Nations and communities continues to be an important district priority. Annual district expenditure for forest resource management, forest investment, and the BC Timber Sales Program is $6 million. Annual stumpage revenue is approximately $23 million.

The office has undergone restructuring, so it can continue to provide sound forest management and service to communities and industry in the district. Staff provide an operational focus with the following priorities:


Stewardship of forest resources is part of our core mandate, providing sustainable supplies of fibre and long-term environmental values.  The Sea to Sky District has a unique diversity of habitats, including lakes, wetlands, and complete river and stream networks connected to the ocean.  Streams that originate in forests and mountains are essential for drinking water, salmon and other species of fish and insects, and a broad range of birds, animals, and other species.  Forests contain critical habitat for endangered species.  Forest types in the district range from coastal rainforests with giant valley bottom trees to dry pine- and fir-dominated forests replenished by wildfire.  Biodiversity is managed in working forests by tracking and managing different species and age classes, and it is conserved in areas where harvesting is prohibited.

Compliance and Enforcement

The Sea to Sky District houses field staff to ensure public and private sector uses of our forests are consistent with the Forest and Range Practices Act, Forest Act, Range Act and other relevant legislation.

Fibre Supply for the Forest Industry

The Sea to Sky District will provide plan approvals, cutting permits and road permits to ensure an even flow of timber for our forest companies. These permits will be consistent with the allowable annual cut determined by the ministry's Chief Forester. The present annual harvest is 480 000 cubic metres. It is the goal of the district to maintain a minimum two-year timber supply under permit for each licensee.

BC Timber Sales Program

The Chinook Business Area based in Chilliwack has a satellite office in Squamish.  Annually, they provide approximately 118 000 cubic metres of timber for competitive bidding to registrants in the BC Timber Sales Program. This program spends approximately $2 million annually to generate approximately $7 million in stumpage revenue for the Crown.



Sound Forest Management - Meeting the Needs of the Future

History of a Natural Forest

A forest is a living organism. It is dynamic, a constantly changing system of plant and animal relationships subject to the effects of climate. Some changes are long and almost imperceptible: others are sudden and catastrophic. Here is a condensed history of a typical unmanaged forest:

BEGINNINGS - A destructive event such as forest fire removes most of the vegetation.

PIONEER PLANTS - The first plants to begin growing after a destructive event are called 'pioneers'. The majority of pioneer plants are deciduous. Some common pioneers are willow, alder, salmonberry, grass and fireweed. Pioneer plants require a lot of light for growth, and grow well in direct sunlight provided by the destructive event. They are unable to grow and compete in the shade of larger plants.

SUCCESSION - Plants that require protection from the harsh conditions created by the destructive event begin to grow in the shelter beneath the pioneer species forming an 'understory'. These plants are usually coniferous (needle-bearing) trees such as spruce.

CLIMAX - Eventually the understory trees grow tall enough to shade out the pioneer species. The pioneer species then die off from lack of light and the coniferous trees begin to replace themselves in the understory. When this stage is reached, it is called a 'climax forest'. At any stage a new destructive event such as a forest fire, wind storm, landslide, or insect infestation may start the process over at Stage One. New beginnings can also be created by forest harvesting. However, foresters have learned to apply management techniques which minimize the set back and allow direct establishment of successional or climax species.


History of a Working Forest

Trees are one of the major components of a forest ecosystem. Many trees of various species compete with each other for survival and growth within each stand. A forest is comprised of a variety of stands and a 'working forest' is essentially the management of these stands at various stages of development Throughout each stage of development stands provide different opportunities for recreations wildlife and range as the stand matures. In a working forest, the timing and location of harvest and silviculture treatments control the patterns and stages of stand development:

BEGINNINGS - Harvesting and silviculture treatments of stands are conducted in a manner to maintain a full range of life in A it's natural forms across the landscape over long periods of time. Harvesting area and timing of logging operations are selected on the basis of a number of criteria. These include the area's sensitivity to logging, age of the stand, and the desired end product to come from the stand whether it 2x4's for houses or pulp for paper. Where other resource values outweigh timber values harvesting may be deferred altogether.

REFORESTATION - Prior to harvesting foresters plan for reforestation and choose the most suitable trees for the stand’s climate, soil and water conditions. Foresters also decide whether the site will be left for natural regeneration or planted with nursery grown seedlings. Where artificial regeneration is chosen, seedlings are planted close together to prevent the encroachment of brush species and to ensure adequate survival of seedlings.

STAND TENDING - As the stand develops, the growth and competition amongst individual trees cause the forest to change in structure and species composition. To encourage best growth and survival of these trees, different silvicultural treatments ranging from brushing to juvenile spacing may be required. Brushing and weeding can be conducted at any time and is the removal of plants that are competing with the trees. As the trees grow, they begin to compete with each other and the stand requires thinning. This dunning operation is referred to as juvenile spacing where a number of young trees = removed to improve growth and survival on the remaining trees. To ensure that ecological processes are sustained, portions of the forest are left untouched to protect species diversity.

ROTATION AND HARVEST - The stand reaches a stage where trees put on little new growth and some begin to die and decay. The length of time for the stand to reach this stage is known as the rotation and it is generally 70-120 years. At this stage, the stand is acting like a natural climax forest Different species of flora and fauna occupy the forest floor and new trees are growing in the understory replacing the dead and dying trees. The stand is now ready for harvest. Following harvest, the stand begins another rotation.



For Your Information

Fire Use and Prevention

Open fire and campfire information as well as up-to-date wildfire information is available at http://bcwildfire.ca or by calling the Wildfire Information Line 1‑888‑3FOREST (1‑888‑336‑7378).

If you see smoke or flames, please report it by calling toll free 1‑800‑663‑5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks

Hunting and Fishing

For information about hunting and fresh water fishing, consult the B.C. Fishing and Hunting Regulations or contact the Conservation Officer service toll free through Service BC at 1-800-663-7867. Information on fishing in tidal waters is available from the Fishery Officer at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Squamish at 1-604-892-3230.


Direct specific questions about parks to:

  • BC Parks click here to take you directly to their website
    North Vancouver Office -1-604-924-2200
  • Regional District Parks (GVRD) -1-604-432-6350


The Squamish Chamber of Commerce at 604-815-4990 can provide information about private resorts or help you to contact them directly.


  • Squamish (emergency) - 911
  • Squamish (non-emergency) -1-604-892-6100
  • Whistler (emergency) - 911
  • Whistler (non-emergency) -1-604-932-3044
  • Pemberton (emergency) - 911
  • Pemberton (non-emergency) -1-604-894-6634

Highway Information




Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural
Resource Operations
Sea to Sky District
Mailing Address:
Suite 101-42000 Loggers Lane
Squamish BC V8B 0H3
Telephone: 604 898-2100
Facsimile: 604 898-2191
E-Mail: FLNRO.SeaToSkyDistrict@gov.bc.ca

In a setting of rugged mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes, visitors enjoy all-season recreation such as skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, wind surfing and camping.


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