Touchwood Tours Forestry Tours

See the FOREST & the TREES

with our Guided Forestry Tours

Forestry Tour Descriptions


Exploring Forests of Change and the Mountain Pine Beetle

Full Day Forestry Tour includes LunchThe following is the itinerary for a day-long trip into the sub-boreal forests around Prince George.

May and June are the major planting seasons here, with a large influx of students from across Canada arriving in BC in time for tree planting. The tour will take us out to a climate-controlled tree seedling nursery, an active planting show, with the opportunity to see and speak with planters at work. We'll visit their base camp and look at the planter's lifestyle. We'll also look at some older plantations, to give an appreciation of what the result of all this effort brings, and some of our natural forests. Finally, we will have an opportunity to walk thru mature forests damaged by Mountain Pine Beetle, and discuss some control strategies and the implications to Prince George and beyond. Who knows, we may just see wildlife such as moose or bears along the trip. 

Mark Clark will guide the tour. Mark has worked as a Professional Forester in Prince George for over 30 years, principally for industrial firms but also as a consultant working collaboratively with small tenure holders, First Nations, woodlots, community forestry associations and government. His reputable tour company, Touchwood Tours, delivers public tours throughout the area.

Minimum Group Size is 12, maximum is 30 passengers.
A hearty lunch, healthy snacks and comfortable transportation are included.
12 to 25: $78.00 CDN per person, all taxes included.
More than 25: $68.00 CDN per person

Custom tours with less than 12 passengers can be priced on request.

Travel will be in highway coach buses. These vehicles are air conditioned, washroom equipped and comfortable, with radio communications and safety equipment for travel on Industrial Roads.
Read our FAQs for answers to frequently asked questions.

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Itinerary for Day Trip

  8:00 am - Tour group departs from Hotels in PG
  8:30 am - Arrive at Forest Nursery, tour facility
  9:20 am - Depart for Planting Site (Nutritional Snack)
10:20 am - Head for the Planting Site
11:30 am  - Leave Planting Site for Reforestation Camp and admire the countryside
12:00 pm - Hearty Lunch & Beverage at Reforestation Camp
12:40 pm - Depart Reforestation Site for Heritage 1980's Plantation
  1:10 pm - Spend some time at the Heritage Plantation
  1:40 pm - Depart Heritage Plantation for Mature Forest and Mountain Pine Beetle
  2:30 pm - Arrive at Mature Forest, Culturally Modified Trees, and Mountain Pine Beetle
  3:30 pm - Destination is your hotel in Prince George

Discussion Notes for Day Trip

Prince George, recognized as BC's northern capital, is located where the Fraser and the Nechako Rivers meet. With over 77,000 people, Prince George is the major city in northern British Columbia. The city's economy is fuelled in large part by the forest industry which plays a key role in the local job market and gives back to the local community in a variety of ways. Prince George has 5 sawmills, 3 pulp mills and 1 paper mill. There are 93 registered small woodlot tenures, several First Nations tenures, and private land forest management.

BC's forests cover over 60 million hectares of the total provincial land base of 96 million hectares. The forest industry is the heart of BC's economy yet only 1/3 of 1% of the forest is logged each year. More than 12% of BC's land base is protected and another 14% is designated for special management use. BC's Chief Forester is responsible for determining how much wood can be harvested in each of BC's 73 management units. This process involves a detailed technical analysis, including public comment and a review of non-timber values such as wildlife and fish habitat, soils, water, and recreation values. It ensures that all harvest levels are based on the latest information, practices, and government policies - economic and environmental. The result is the setting of an "Allowable Annual Cut" of timber for each of the 73 timber management units in the province.
Ecologically appropriate silviculture systems are prescribed for harvest areas. Silviculture systems are planned programs of treatments throughout the life of a stand to achieve chosen stand structural objectives. A silviculture system includes harvesting, regeneration and stand-tending over the entire length of a rotation or cutting cycle.


culturally modified treeThe Cultural Heritage Resource Features Process for potential archaeological or traditional use sites consists of 2 stages. A predictive overview process is follow by detailed site assessments if the probability of cultural heritage features is present. The Archaeological Assessment and input from the First Nations of the area determine if the site should be retained as found, or if industrial activity can proceed.

Ground based mechanical harvesting is the primary harvest method employed in interior operations in B.C. and Alberta. Generally feller bunchers, grapple skidders, and stroke de-limbers are used. Roadside log loading capability limits the need for landing construction. Low ground pressure skidding equipment is used on sensitive soil types in the summer harvesting season. Over the last several years, many of the logging contractors have converted to cut-to-length methods to make better use of the fibre and adapt to changing site conditions.

Reforestation activities are an important part the areas forest management program. Industry typically aims to restock harvested areas within 1 year of harvest completion by planting species that are ecologically suited to the site. As the natural forest is composed of mainly Lodgepole pine, Western White Spruce, and Douglas Fir, these are the species typically planted. Reforestation targets are set in documents signed and sealed by professional foresters. Replacement seedlings must be growing in the nurseries before harvesting is permitted, and typically three trees are planted for each tree harvested.

The mountain pine beetle (MPB) Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, is a member of a group of beetles known as bark beetles. In northern BC, the beetle attacks and kills Lodgepole pine trees. The beetle lives under the bark and only emerges briefly, to attack new trees. The tree's only defence is to produce resin in an attempt to "pitch out" the beetle. The beetle however carries a fungus that helps to resist this pitching. Once inside the tree, the fungus begins to grow.This interrupts the flow of water to the crown of the tree and produces a blue stain in the wood. In order to reproduce, the beetle lays eggs along a vertical egg gallery, under the bark. The eggs quickly grow into larvae and then feed on the phloem of the tree, thus interrupting the flow of moisture and nutrients to the tree. As the tree slowly dies, the needles become red, indicating that the tree has been attacked and killed by the beetle.

The MPB poses a significant threat to the Lodgepole pine forests in the west central interior region of BC. Only a significant cold snap, -40 degrees Celsius, in the fall or early winter would help control this epidemic. Examples of human and natural controls include harvesting, single tree sanitation, fire, and predators such as woodpeckers.

Read our FAQs for answers to frequently asked questions.

Click here to Register Online

"See the Forest and the Trees with our Guided Forestry Tours"

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