May 9, 2017

Riding Pickles on Powell Lake


Approaching the Pickles barge ramp on Powell Lake.
Sounds funny, but that’s the name of a Western Forest Product’s logging site on Powell Lake. I don’t know the name's origin. Maybe it was the nickname of an old timer in nearby Henderson Bay, or some obscure gastronomic event.

We took advantage of a sunny spring day to head out with our barge and quads. Pickles is about twenty minutes from our cabin and we’ve watched with interest as road builders reopened the barge ramp and blasted their way through granite cliffs.


Burning the slash in 2008 after the first logging at Pickles.
Pickles is an isolated block. Roads offer limited riding, but there was a unique draw. After building ends, roads are left to settle for several months, letting you ride through mature forests with their robust understory before logging begins.

We didn’t have our barge when Pickles was first logged. Because quick growing alders blocked the roads, this was the first time we could ride both old and new sections.


Our barge at the Pickles dock looking up the east arm of Powell Lake.


Wayne on one of the old cleared logging roads.
On the north-south road there were views of Goat Island, First Narrows and Chippewa Bay. Loggers even had a roadside bench at the most spectacular spot. The most extensive road building was at the end of the east-west section. Here road crews had to blast their way along granite slopes (easily heard from our cabin deck). Trees logged during the road building process won’t go to waste. They are stacked and ready for removal when logging begins.


Looking north with First Narrows in the middle and Goat Island on the right.

This is the second time we’ve been able to ride new roads to experience mature forests up close. The first was at nearby Chip South. As a part of the reforestation process, new harvests in previously logged areas occur after about ten years. This allows new trees to grow and “green up” in the open areas. Western Forest Products is a responsible company that carefully manages our forests on Crown land.

A new section of road with logs waiting ready for removal.

If you want to ride in the Powell Lake region, you can contact Western Forest Products to get current information about logging activities.  In addition to the hotline listed below, there is a @WFPRoadInfo Twitter account, a Stillwater Operational Information Map (pdf updated monthly), and online information page.

Stillwater Forest Operations
201-7373 Duncan Street
Powell River, BC V8A 1W6
Office: (604) 485-3100
Road Hotline: (604) 485-3132

I invite you to come visit Powell River and enjoy quad riding in our glorious backcountry. -- Margy