Welcome to the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District
For FSR conditions and closure 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.
Photo by Malcolm Schulz: Brohm Ridge looking south
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.
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.
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
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
Stewardship of forest resources is part of our core mandate,
providing sustainable supplies of fibre and long-term
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.
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
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.
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.
Fire Use and
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
If you see smoke or flames, please report it by calling toll free
1‑800‑663‑5555 or *5555
on most cellular networks
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
- 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
|Ministry of Forests, Lands and
Sea to Sky
Suite 101-42000 Loggers Lane
Squamish BC V8B 0H3
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.