Crew boss Erin Brennan stands next to improvised road in the Maxan Colleymount area. (Lasse Lutick photo/Lakes District News)

Crew boss Erin Brennan stands next to improvised road in the Maxan Colleymount area. (Lasse Lutick photo/Lakes District News)

Burns Lake area tree planting wraps up

Roughly 300 million trees to be planted provincially

Tree planting for the Burns Lake area is wrapped up for two major companies working in the region.

Lasse Lutick, owner of Hybrid 17 told Lakes District News that June 25 was the last day of their planting this season.

The company had a total of 82 planters, 20 support staff and planted close to 7 million trees. The company was also able to get the planters vaccinated with the help of the local health authority. The planters were still not allowed to come in to the town.

“COVID continues to play a role — although the planters in camp can now go maskless and be physically closer because they have had no interaction with the communities around them for seven weeks, they must remain isolated in order to maintain those privileges. This means no trips to town, no interaction with communities etc. For example, when we were vaccinated, we rented the Omineca Ski Club and the nurses came to that location rather than having us all go into town and go to the hospital,” he said.

Lutick also noted that the success of the season was also due to the support of the local businesses who “adapt to tree planting time” and understand the urgency of requirements and needs of the planters.

Waterside Ventures also completed their planting season on the same day as Hybrid 17. Shameus Hughes said that they had a total of 60 planters and they planted roughly 2.8 million trees.

The company also offered its planters an opportunity to get vaccinated but no one wanted to take time off to do it, he said.

“I think the fact that we were all isolated from the outside world made it unnecessary for our workers but the option was there.”

Hughes also said that all his planters followed strict COVID protocols and were not allowed to interact with anyone from outside the crew. Being isolated and cut out from the rest of the community, the tree planters posed no threat to the community and were in fact at a greater risk of getting the virus, he noted.

“It has been difficult for people to be isolated for so long this season but there have been some positive aspects. It has made everyone more thoughtful and considerate of each other,” he said, “It was a great season and I’m very proud of my crew for doing such a great job and being so patient with all these rules.”

This year, the Nadina Forest District which includes Burns Lake and Houston, will have the largest district program for tree planting with 36 million trees to be planted across the regions, according to the ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Tree planting began provincially on the Coast in early February and by mid-April in the Interior with roughly 300 million trees to be planted this year. Summer planting across the northern region of the province is expected to wrap up by mid July.

Monthly statistics are not readily available. However, at the peak of tree planting season, it’s expected between 10 million and 20 million seedlings will be planted per day.

The nearby Skeena Stikine District, whose border is close to Houston, is slated to plant six million trees.


Shaemus Hughes photo/Lakes District News