As part of government’s new approach to managing old growth in British Columbia, a two-person, independent panel is engaging British Columbians to get input and hear perspectives on managing the province’s old-growth forests for ecological, economic and cultural values.
On July 17, 2019, government appointed panel members Garry Merkel and Al Gorley to lead an Old Growth Strategic Review and provide a report to Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“Old-growth forests have significant economic, social and cultural values, and we are committed to developing a new thoughtful and measured approach to managing this resource for the benefit of all British Columbians,” Donaldson said. “Merkel and Gorley will be having broad conversations with Indigenous Nations, industry, stakeholders and communities about the future of old-growth management.”
The panel was tasked with looking at old-growth management from a variety of perspectives, including employment and economic benefits, social, cultural, and environmental value and the need to address climate change.
The panel plans to visit communities in the following regions on or around the dates listed below:
- Oct. 24-25 – south-central Vancouver Island
- Oct. 28-31 – Skeena/Nechako
- Nov. 7-8 – north Vancouver Island
- Nov. 12-15 – Thompson/Shuswap
- Nov. 18 and 21 – Vancouver
- Dec. 2-3 – northeast B.C.
- Dec. 4-6 – Vancouver/Sunshine Coast
- Dec. 9 – Haida Gwaii
- Dec. 12-13 – Vancouver/Victoria
- Dec. 16 – Sea to Sky
- Dec. 17-20 – Cariboo/Okanagan
- Jan. 7-9 – Kootenays
Additionally, British Columbians will have the opportunity to express their views on old-growth forests in B.C. through the panel’s public engagement website: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/oldgrowth
Interested individuals are invited to complete the online questionnaire. Organizations, professionals and other interested parties may also submit written submissions online. Feedback is open until Jan. 31, 2020, at 4 p.m.
The independent panel will provide its final report to Donaldson by April 30, 2020. The report will include recommendations and a summary of what the panel heard so government can determine next steps.