VICTORIA - A community forest agreement for Chetwynd will enable the municipality and First Nations to manage local forest resources for timber, recreation and cultural values, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced.
The agreement will be signed with Little Prairie Community Forest Inc., a partnership between the District of Chetwynd, the Saulteau First Nations, and the West Moberly First Nations.
Little Prairie Community Forest Inc. will use sustainable forest management practices and Indigenous knowledge to look after about 14,000 hectares of Crown land north of Chetwynd and south of Moberly Lake. This includes managing ancestral sites sacred to local First Nations and providing recreational activities such as guided hiking experiences.
The community forest agreement has a 25-year term and grants the right to harvest 20,000 cubic metres of timber per year from the Dawson Creek timber supply area.
Little Prairie will use its community forest licence to salvage economic value from lodgepole pine trees that have been killed by the mountain pine beetle infestation.
Interest in forestry careers is growing once again in northeast B.C. as the forest sector continues to show signs of recovery. Little Prairie Community Forest will explore potential opportunities to provide a hands-on learning environment and educational opportunities for future forest workers in the region.
District of Chetwynd Mayor Evan Saugstad -
"This will create a unique economic opportunity for our respective communities and provides an important management tool for the forest lands immediately adjacent to our settlements. More importantly, the community forest fosters a new relationship and establishes an essential partnership between the District of Chetwynd and West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations."
West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Willson -
"The West Moberly First Nations are very excited to be moving forward with this three-way partnership, with the Saulteau First Nations and Chetwynd, to show the true nature of co-operative management of our forests. The forests have always provided the First Nations with our medicines, our food, our shelter and our spirituality."
"The land is part and parcel to who we are as a people. Our forests are renewable resources and will continue to provide for us long into the future."
Saulteau First Nations Chief Harley Davis -
"The three communities have worked very hard to get this tenure approved. Our Nation looks forward to working collaboratively with West Moberly First Nations and the District of Chetwynd."
"We want to make the future generations proud when they look back at the decisions we make for this forest."
- Community forest agreements are a form of tenure that enable communities to more fully participate in the stewardship of local Crown forest resources.
- They are area-based, and give communities exclusive rights to harvest timber, as well as the opportunity to manage other forest values such as botanical products, recreation, wildlife, water and scenic viewscapes.
- More than 50 community forests are operating or are in the planning stages in British Columbia.
About community forest agreements:
About the British Columbia Community Forest Association:
About 'Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan':
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations