Greenwood, B.C. – In a recent update, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) highlighted the wildfire risk reduction project undertaken by the West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF) and lauded the community forest for being a ‘model in collaboration’.
In 2020, WBCF received a $254,100 grant from FESBC to create a fire break near Jewel Lake. The community forest successfully undertook the wildfire mitigation activity on the 32-hectare area, 20 minutes north of Greenwood, and also enhanced several recreational aspects of the area, relying heavily on collaboration.
“Collaborating on a project such as this, and on this scale, can be difficult, but is absolutely necessary. And we are so glad FESBC has taken notice of the collaborative efforts that made this project a success,” said Dan Macmaster, RPF, Forest Manager of the WBCF.
The project saw support from the Jewel Lake Environmental Protection Society, made up of locals of the area, Vaagen Fibre Canada, and the Osoyoos Indian Band, showcasing not just the support of the industry, but also the locals who would be most impacted by the wildfire risk reduction work.
Through the FESBC-funded project, the community forest managed to salvage 40 loads of small-diameter logs and pulp, which was sold to local mills, instead of being burned.
The FESBC funding for the project was approved because the area was classified as a fire-susceptible ecosystem due to the accumulation of flammable wood in the forest and it met several of FESBC’s objectives.
“While the focus of the project was wildfire risk reduction to the surrounding community, we were able to achieve multiple goals, such as enhancing recreational value to the area through improved trails and signage, reducing greenhouse gases by avoiding burning of small-diameter logs, and involving the community in the process of forestry management,” said Macmaster.
Through this project, WBCF showed that wildfire risk reduction work that involves community engagement and collaboration toward achieving multiple goals, can result in yielding both environmental and social benefits.