The lush forests surrounding the Village of Cumberland are enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year who come to the area for both recreation and relaxation. Beautiful walking and hiking paths and renowned mountain biking trails zigzag through a thriving coastal forest filled with wetlands, streams, historic landmarks and diverse flora and fauna.
This forest also provides a beautiful green backdrop to a community that defines itself by its proximity to the woods – a Village in the Forest.
What many residents and visitors don’t know is that significant parts of this privately owned forest are slated to be logged as early as 2016. The Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) is launching a new campaign to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“Our next purchase is critical to preserving key trails and protecting the southern view scape of the Village. We’re currently looking at three pieces that total over 50 hectares, ”says CCFS President, Andrew Nicoll.
“The first piece is a large parcel to the left of the yellow gate at the bottom of Sutton Rd. It contains some of the first mountain biking trails built in the area including Black Hole and Space Nugget. This area is also a huge part of the south facing viewscape of the community. The second piece is behind the historic Chinatown site and it contains trails including Buggered Pig and Bronco’s Perseverance”.
“The third piece, also scheduled to be logged in 2016, is the beautiful forest just beyond #1 Japanese Town along Comox Lake Rd. This historically important area was used by the Japanese community and is home to the Perseverance Creek wetlands. It is a stunning natural area and we’re also exploring the possibility of a multi-use board walk project as part of this purchase. This could create accessibility for visitors of diverse ability while at the same time protecting a fragile natural area”.
All of the forests surrounding Cumberland are privately owned as part of the legacy of the E&N Land Transfer in the late 1800’s that saw over 2 million acres of land along the eastern side of Vancouver Island transfer into private hands in exchange for building a railway.
The CCFS began to purchase privately owned forest lands back in 2000 working cooperatively with land owners and timber companies. To date the CCFS has raised over $1.2 million and purchased over 71 hectares. The purchased lands are connected to the Coal Creek Heritage Park. Together these protected lands are part of an important natural corridor along the south side of the Village called the Cumberland Forest. A vibrant mountain biking community, naturalists, herbalists, hikers, families, artists, photographers, runners and many others consider the Cumberland Forest to be an integral part of the community.
“Our purchases have been funded solely by individuals and organizations committed to forest preservation, without any taxpayer dollars. Our next purchase will increase this protected area by more than 50% but that is still just a small part of a big forest. The CCFS is committed to continuing its work to acquire all forest lands available in this area to further establish the Cumberland Forest as a protected space for generations to come”, says Nicoll. “Monthly donors are how we make these purchases possible and already new donors are signing on to make sure we save these forests in time!”
Check out www.cumberlandforest.com or their facebook page Cumberland Forest for new locations and details on how to support the efforts of the CCFS.