The Cortes Island Community Forest Advisory Group has been invited to apply for a community forest, announced Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson, while at the BC Community Forests Association annual general meeting in 100 Mile House.
“Community forests put economic opportunities in the hands of local communities so that they can do what is best for families. This is just one of the ways we’re working to help diversify the forestry sector in B.C.,” Thomson said.
The invitation to apply is for an allowable annual cut of up to 13,600 cubic metres with an initial term of 25 years. The invitation is subject to First Nations consultation. The exact location on the Island will need to be determined.
After the location has been determined, the Cortes Island Community Forest Advisory Group will prepare their application and submit a management plan to the ministry for approval before the community forest agreement can be issued.
Bruce Ellingsen, on behalf of the Cortes Island Community Forest Advisory Group, said “On behalf of the Cortes Island community we are pleased to accept this invitation to apply for a community forest agreement.
“It’s been a long road so we need to acknowledge those folks in our community who were previously involved trying to make this happen and also to thank the Klahoose First Nation for their support.”
Kathy Francis, of the Cortes Island Community Forest Advisory Group, added “The province’s objectives for the community forest program seem like a natural fit for our community’s plans for managing the Crown forest lands on the island.
“We want to specifically thank Minister Thomson for moving this opportunity forward for us.”
- Cortes Island is at the north end of the Strait of Georgia, between Campbell River and Powell River. 40 per cent of the island (5,000 hectares) is Crown forest land.
- Community forest agreements are a form of legal tenure that enable communities to more fully participate in the stewardship of local Crown forest resources.
- Community forests are area-based and give communities exclusive rights to harvest timber, as well as the opportunity to manage and profit from other forest resources such as botanical products, recreation, wildlife, water and scenic viewscapes.
- More than 50 community forests are operating or are in the planning stages in British Columbia.