How Community Forests are Changing the Way BC’s Forests are Managed

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Presentations from the 2019 BCCFA Conference

Session 1 – How Community Forests are Changing the Way BC’s Forests are Managed – The Year in Review
Jennifer Gunter, BCCFA Executive Director
Link to the presentation

Many in the forestry sector today understand that we need to do things differently. As we look to find ways to advance reconciliation with Indigenous people, to become more responsive to a changing climate, and to create healthy and resilient forests and communities, community forests offer a tangible solution. The BCCFA advocates for more and larger community forests and for forest policy that enhances the ability of CFA holders to create benefits for their communities and to the province. In this presentation, Jennifer provided an overview of the BCCFA’s work over the past year and highlighted the findings of a new socio-economic impact study of BC’s community forest program as well as the results of the latest Community Forest Indicators Survey documenting the benefits generated by BCCFA members.

Session 3 – First Nations Reconciliation Panel
Moderator:  Doug Stewart, Director Tenures Branch, MFLNRORD

What does reconciliation mean to you? What role do community forest managers and boards have in reconciliation? The importance of reconciliation and building relationships with Indigenous People is highlighted by the federal and provincial commitments to implement the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the principle of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC). In addition, the context for forestry in BC has changed significantly in relation to Indigenous peoples in the past 10 years. The provincial government has provided volumes/tenure to First Nations as accommodation, economic development, and land management control. Where community forests are working with Indigenous governments, effective relationship approaches and partnerships are key to successful forest management.

Andrea Lyall, RPF, Doctoral Candidate, UBC Faculty of Forestry
Link to the presentation

Andrea spoke about her understanding of the meaning of reconciliation, with examples of reconcilACTION (the implementation of reconciliation) for community forests.

Garry Merkel, RPF, co-chair, Minister’s Forest and Range Practices Advisory Council and co-chair of the First Nations Council of Advisors
Link to the presentation

Garry helped us understand reconciliation and how to personalize it in our lives, particularly as it relates to the collaborative management of our forests with First Nations.

Hugh Flinton, RPF, Manager Williams Lake Community Forest and Tom Alphonse T’exelcemc (Williams Lake Band)
Link to the presentation

The Williams Lake Community Forest is a partnership between the Williams Lake Indian Band and the City of Williams Lake. Hugh and Tom will speak to the benefits and opportunities for building relationships inherent in a community forest tenure, based on their shared experience in the Williams Lake Community Forest.

Session 2 – The 4 Pillars of Disaster Management: Community Forest Leadership & Innovation
Moderator: Steve Kozuki, Executive Director, Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC)

Resiliency and Adaptation in the Context of Changing Fire Behavior and Effects
Bob Gray, Association for Fire Ecology, Certified Wildland Fire Ecologist, R.W. Gray Consulting Ltd.
Link to the presentation

Climate change is predicted to lead to longer fire seasons, increased burned area and greater fire severity. This may in turn lead to a significant increase in the economic, social and environmental burden of wildfires. Under rapidly changing climatic and wildfire conditions is it possible to promote resilience, is the concept of resilience even relevant, and what would resilience and adaptation look like. In this presentation, Bob presented the latest science on climate change and wildfire and then presented some thoughts on resilience and adaptation.

Managing for Multiple Values
Garnet Mireau, RPF, Forsite and Logan Lake Community Forest Management Team
Link to the presentation

Forest professionals that support the management of community forests are required to juggle ever more environmental, economic and social objectives. This stewardship trinity can be challenging to everyone involved. How do we sustain and protect our community’s best interests?  Is there room for every value and/or every voice?  The Logan Lake Community Forest shared their experience and understanding of wildfire prevention and mitigation since 2004; all the while leveraging their knowledge of resilient forests, legal/ non-legal requirements and markets. We are challenged to think differently. There is an “I” in “Team” and Garnet showed us where we can find it in our communities too.

Good for the Hood – FireSmart for Private Land
Jessica Duncan, FIT, Prevention Specialist, BC Wildfire Service, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Link to the presentation

Jessica spoke about the shared responsibility of FireSmart and the seven disciplines that make the program successful. She brought case study examples and promoted the importance of engaging the community to be active in FireSmart efforts.

Voice of Experience – Steps to Building Your Own Crew
Cedar Elliot and Margaret Symon, Khowutzun Forest Services
Link to the presentation

Cedar and Margaret gave an overview of Khowutzun Forest Services and  their contract firefighting crews, describing fire prevention in their Community Forest and fire related activities province‐wide.

Restoration, Reclamation, Reforestation with Native Species
Ron Jacobson, Business Development Manager, NATS Nursery Ltd.
Link to the presentation

Ron shared his deep knowledge of the value of native species and their role in fire and ecosystem recovery efforts.

Prescribed Burns and Ecosystem Renewal Burns

Fire is a normal and natural process in many of British Columbia’s ecosystems. The BC Wildfire Service works regularly with land managers to undertake fuel management activities, including the use of prescribed burns, to help reduce the severity of future wildfires and related threats to communities.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit:

Learn More:

A factsheet about prescribed burns and ecosystem restoration burns is available online:

Follow the latest wildfire news:

May Creek Wildfire Risk Reduction And Forest Health Improvement Project

West Boundary Community Forest, with funding provided by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, is conducting a fuel-reduction , and wildlife enhancement project in the May Creek area.

Lodgepole pine and blowdown have been removed to mitigate the risk of a large-scale fire as well as provide access to fire crews in the future.

The northern section of the permit will focus on the removal of trees infected with mistletoe, root rot, and pine beetle. Thinning will provide the growing space for healthy trees to thrive and the understory to rejuvenate. Most of the harvesting will occur during the late Fall/Winter months and final cleanup will take place in late Spring 2019.

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Annual Public Meeting, Wed, Dec 5, 2018

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The annual WBCF Community Meeting was held on Wednesday, December 5 at McArthur Centre in Greenwood. Residents of West Boundary, as well as RDKB Area E Director, Vicki Gee, and local media attended to hear from the Board of Directors and the Manager of the Community Forest, Dan Macmaster, Registered Professional Forester, (RPF).

The presentation included information about forest operations completed this year, as well as current and future permits. In addition, Dan Macmaster outlined two grant applications to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) which, if successful, will help to fund wildfire mitigation projects in the Jewel Lake and May Creek areas of WBCF.

Ross Elliott, Board Secretary outlined the governance structure, and provided financials including shareholder dividends, and disbursements in the form of grants and scholarships.

Attendees were invited to ask questions and provide their feedback. They also received a visual tour of the new website and Facebook page, and were invited to check in regularly and also share their feedback via posts, comments, email and phone. The purpose of the website and Facebook page is to provide the Board and Community Forest Manager with increased opportunity to engage with stakeholders, and broader access for residents to share feedback and seek information.

Click the link to view the PDF of the December 2018 Presentation to Community Members



FireSmart Begins at Home


FireSmart is a national initiative to help property owners and communities understand the ways in which wildfire might threaten structures and property located in, and close to, forested and wildland areas, and the steps individuals and communities can take to reduce the susceptibility of buildings and property to fire.

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Protecting Your Community from Wildfire

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View or Download

In addition to information on how to protect individual homes and properties, this manual provides individuals with the necessary tools in planning and in mitigating the risk of fire in interface areas within your community.

BC Community Forest Association

VICTORIA – The BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA) has released its annual report which summarizes the benefits of community forestry in BC.

Forty community forests participated in the survey, providing data from their last reporting year. This sample represents 93% of the operating community forests in the BCCFA. Most are small rural communities, with an average population of 3,360.

This year’s results show that community forests are creating 63% more jobs/ m3 than the industry average in their forestry operations. They operate in sensitive areas, while reliably supplying logs to both major processing facilities and small manufacturers. They are showing leadership in reducing the risk of wildfire to their communities and have a significant role in the process of First Nations reconciliation beyond the legal requirements of the tenure.

Trails to the Boundary Society

Trails to the Boundary Society was formed in 2016 to manage the Trans Canada Trail from Eholt to McCulloch. Although they are not within the West Boundary Community Forest they are adjacent and we have provided funding for their trail through the Vaagen mill yard in Midway. Trails of the Boundary took over management of the horse trails formerly managed by Kettle River Trails Association which dissolved in 2017. These trails run from the fair grounds in Rock Creek north through the Rock Creek block and access trails within steep creek block NE of Westbridge.

Boundary Invasive Species Society

Boundary Invasive Weed Society is a local society with the mandate to prevent and treat invasive weeds throughout the Boundary Region. They work with all BC Government, municipalities, licensees, and forest and range stakeholders to manage this problem. Their policies and strategies are part of the broad Provincial Weed Management program and therefore apply to WBCF.

Contact; Barb Stewart, Tel: 250-446-2232.