Terms of Reference for a Special Report
Managing Forest Recreation Resources Values under FRPA
Forest recreation is important in British Columbia. It helps to support a thriving tourism industry,
and contributes to a lifestyle for many British Columbian’s who enjoy BC’s natural beauty and
recreating in outdoor areas. Forest recreation occurs throughout the province and, given BC’s diverse
landscapes, it comprises many different types of activity and levels of intensity. Outside of parks and
protected areas, recreational activities are often accessed using forestry roads on lands where forestry
activities occur and there is often a strong interplay between forest management and recreation.
Forest recreation is part of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) framework in several places. The
recreation resource is one of the 11 FRPA values for which government may set objectives to manage
and protect under FRPA. If government sets objectives, then forest licensees must have results or
strategies, consistent with the objectives, within their forest stewardship plans prior to logging or
road building. Objectives relating to recreation may arise from land use plans and Government Actions
Regulation orders as well.
The FRPA definition for recreation resources is very broad and includes recreational features, scenic
or wilderness settings that have recreational significance, and recreation facilities. As well as setting
objectives, government may control uses of Crown land under FRPA section 58 to manage public
recreation or protect a recreation resource. Recreation sites and trails are established under section
56 of FRPA, with uses controlled under the Forest Recreation Regulation. Recreation Sites and Trails
BC (RSTBC), a branch of the Ministry of Forests Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural
Development (FLNRO) is the agency that administers sites and trails.
This special report has been prompted by multiple concerns and complaints received by the Forest
Practices Board about outdoor recreation activities and how recreation values are managed under
FRPA. Examples include: management of forestry activities within designated recreation sites;ii
impacts of forestry activities on recreation resources;iii and perceived gaps in management of forest
recreation values including underutilization of the management tools provided in FRPA. The Board
has observed that problems can occur when there is no planning for recreation resource values or
where objectives and desired outcomes for these values are not clear.
In preparing the terms of reference for this report, the Board interviewed staff and/or board members
from the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC, Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, RSTBC and
FLNRO. The interviewees identified several issues related to the management of forest recreation
values with the most common of these being tied to planning, including gaps in the FRPA framework
and its application. A key concern is that recreation is something of an orphaned value under FRPA.
It is a forest resource and, at the same time, it is not part of forestry or range activities and does not
have its own legislation and government program to fully manage its diverse activities and
This report will determine how forestry planning and practices are addressing forest
recreation values under FRPA. Specifically, the report will look at the following:
1. How the FRPA framework addresses management of forest recreation values.
2. The strengths and weaknesses of the FRPA framework.
3. Opportunities to improve management of forest recreation values.
This special report will focus on planning to maintain the quality of forest recreation values under
FRPA. It will be provincial in scope but will use local case studies to illustrate strengths and
weaknesses in recreation planning and management. The report will focus on forestry impacts to
recreation values, not on recreation user impacts to forest values.
Board investigators will review relevant government, Board, and other documentation and conduct
interviews with recreation experts, government staff, forest and range tenure holders, universities,
non-governmental organizations, and commercial tourism operators. The Board will conduct case
studies in coastal and interior areas with a focus on areas where there have been successes or
challenges in recreation planning and management. Board staff will do site visits for the case studies.
The report will describe the current framework for recreation management under FRPA, describe
common issues, and identify opportunities for improvement. The report may make recommendations
for improving legislation, policies, structures and processes to manage forest recreation under FRPA.