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West Boundary Community Forest and Osoyoos Indian Band Lead Sustainable Forest Management

Midway, B.C. – Community forests have emerged as powerful vehicles for local empowerment, placing decision-making power in the hands of local stakeholders and providing opportunities that contribute to a more resilient and diversified forest economy. Over the past year, the West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF) has created a partnership with the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) to manage the community forest, marking a significant stride towards sustainable, collaborative forest management.

The WBCF, overseen by an appointed Board of Directors representing the communities of its shareholders —the City of Greenwood and the Village of Midway— is dedicated to prioritizing practices that balance economic, social, cultural, and environmental considerations. This commitment generates benefits not only for local communities but also for the province as a whole.

In line with this vision, in March 2023, the WBCF forged an agreement to have the OIB manage the community forest. This partnership involves close cooperation with OIB referrals to ensure alignment with shared values and respect for the land.

“The partnership between the Osoyoos Indian Band and West Boundary Community Forest focuses on building all the values and direction from the Band into layout and development in the community forest,” said Dan Macmaster, Forest Manager of WBCF and Head of Forestry at OIB.

West Boundary Community Forest.

By integrating Indigenous perspectives into forest management, this agreement ensures that decisions align with the values and priorities of the OIB, further creating opportunities for employment and training for both Band members and local area residents while also fostering economic resilience and community development.

Macmaster stressed the importance of collaboration in sustainable forest management, stating, “It’s important for everyone to work together and share approaches to forest stewardship. First Nations' knowledge and understanding of the land, forests, and wildlife is critical to proper development and harvesting activities on their traditional territories.”

The partnership between OIB and WBCF has produced tangible benefits, including enhanced wildfire risk reduction projects to better safeguard vulnerable rural communities, along with the cultivation of stronger relationships between First Nations and stakeholders. This collaborative approach underscores the importance of collective action in preserving our forests and communities.

“When we work together on decisions that affect the wildlife, water, land, and forests, there are better outcomes and benefits for everyone,” remarked Macmaster.

To arrange an interview, contact:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison for the West Boundary Community Forest | | 250.574.0221



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