The annual harvest in the Soo Timber Supply Area could be maintained at 506,000 cubic metres, according to a timber supply analysis report released Aug. 31, by Larry Pedersen, British Columbia’s chief forester. A 60-day public review period begins today with the release of the Soo analysis report and public discussion paper. This is the last opportunity for the public to review and comment on the Soo Timber Supply review before Pedersen determines a new allowable cut, later this year. The Soo Timber Supply Area covers 826,000 hectares and includes the communities of Lions Bay, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and several First Nations communities. The analysis indicates the current allowable annual cut of 506,000 cubic metres, including 2,500 cubic metres specified for cottonwood, could be maintained for the next 200 years. Since the previous determination, changes in forest management policy for the Soo Timber Supply Area have been implemented, including the Forest Practices Code, the Spotted Owl Management Plan and the Lower Mainland protected areas strategy, which has resulted in several new parks. This information has been considered in the analysis. "It is important to note that this harvest forecast is not an allowable annual cut determination, but rather technical information I will consider when setting a new allowable annual cut later this year," says Pedersen. "Public comment on the analysis will be considered at that time and factored into the decision." The timber supply review is an independent review undertaken by the chief forester every five years. The Soo Timber Supply analysis and public discussion paper are available on the web at www.for.gov.bc.ca/tsb or at the Squamish Forest District office. Public input will be accepted until Oct. 29.