Dan Macmaster and Peter Flett, WBCF Foresters
At the West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF), we work together to ensure the decisions we make in our forest have the best interest of the community in mind. We view our community forest as a shared space, inviting diverse points of view for every decision. To us, community members play a key role in the prosperity of the community forest and help build healthy communities.
This feature is our way to amplify the voices of West Boundary Community Forest champions who ensure every project follows community values, goals, and objectives. Today, we introduce two community forest champions, Dan Macmaster, RPF, and Peter Flett, RPF, forest managers of the West Boundary Community Forest. Both foresters work for Vaagen Fibre Canada (Vaagen), which holds a management agreement with the community forest.
In collaboration with the City of Greenwood, the Village of Midway and the Osoyoos Indian Band, Flett and Macmaster ensure forest practices adhere to a foundation of sustainable forest management by balancing ecological, social, and economic values.
“Vaagen’s management of the West Boundary Community Forest incorporates the ideas and opinions of the residents,” said Macmaster. “We believe that the benefits of the forest—from revenue to decision-making to job opportunities—should involve the local communities.” As a forester, Flett’s involvement in the community forest goes beyond typical forestry duties. In his role, he meets with First Nations Band members and local citizens before a project begins to incorporate the values of the area and discuss any potential concerns.
“What I like the most about being connected to the community is building relationships with all stakeholders, such as our Indigenous partners, BC Wildfire Service, stewardship and wildlife groups, recreationists, hunters, ranchers, the general public, government, among others,” said Flett.
“The collaborative approach promotes information-sharing at a local level which is essential for strengthening those relationships and building trust. I think that’s what sets us apart. We go beyond the legal requirements of consultation, are transparent with our management activities, and utilize alternative management strategies that are well-suited for a smaller scale of forestry than what is commonly seen across the province.” As a Forester for WBCF, Flett manages the silviculture program (reforestation and stand-tending), plans upcoming projects, monitors operations, liaises with stakeholders and government, and maintains the community forests’ SAFE Companies certification, among other duties.
As the Forest Manager, Macmaster manages multiple objectives in the forest, looking at the landscape as an overall unit, developing new and stronger relationships with First Nations partners, and helping to stabilize local rural communities—from job creation to forest education. “My role is to ensure stakeholders’ input is acknowledged while meeting education and recreation objectives in the community,” noted Macmaster. “The educational outreach we make today increases the awareness of collaboration and partnership in helping build healthy forests now and in the future. We want to make sure the land is properly managed through the decisions from local communities, and revenues from log sales continue to support local communities in the long term.” As stewards of the forest, Macmaster and Flett see a bright future ahead for the community forest model, where practices and decision-making continue to follow environmental values, which provide economic and social benefits for many generations to come.