The B.C. government has designated 567 old-growth management areas on the Upper and Lower Sunshine Coast.

Announced last week by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the protected areas cover 18,421 hectares, or about 13.6 per cent of Crown forest within five landscape units of the Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District.

The areas to be excluded from commercial logging are:

  • 4,933 hectares on the north and south sides of Salmon Inlet.
  • 4,503 hectares on the east and north sides of Jervis Inlet.
  • 3,212 hectares northeast of Bute Inlet and southwest of Chilko Lake.
  • 2,971 hectares on the north side of Pryce Channel and the east side of Toba Inlet.
  • 2,802 hectares on the east side of Homfray Channel and the southeast side of Toba Inlet, north of Powell River.

The protected zones include lands within existing provincial parks, wildlife habitat areas and ungulate winter ranges.

The province said it initiated the process of setting boundaries for the old-growth areas in 2010, relying on input from natural resource professionals and forest tenure holders. Consultation with First Nations began in November 2013 and a 60-day public review and comment period ended in February 2014.

The Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District covers more than 1.5 million hectares, with over 15 per cent designated as parks or protected areas, the province said.