Yale First Nation has signed a 25-year renewable community forest agreement with the Fraser Valley Regional District and District of Hope.
The new partnership will allow the Cascade Lower Canyon Community Forest Corporation (CLCCFC) to cut 31,000 cubic meters of timber annually between Hope and Yale, and in a small area of Sunshine Valley.
“The Yale First Nation is very pleased and excited that the community forest has finally received its licence agreement. It has been a long time in coming,” said Chief Robert Hope.
“The management board can now begin work on creating employment and other economic opportunities for the Chilliwack, Hope, and Yale area.”
The three community partners provided $10,000 to get the project going, but it’s now up to CLCCFC to raise funds to cover ongoing expenses.
The plan is to start harvesting timber late this year, but there’s a lot of engineering work that needs to be done ahead of time.
CLCCFC will be conducting several studies in the coming months to make sure that the community forest and logging roads meet government environmental and transportation standards. The process also involves consultation with local First Nation bands.
“It’s going to take quite a lot of time to get the ball rolling,” said CLCCFC board member Don Wiens.
“But the value-added is going to be quite big. When we log, all the profits from that logging will go back into the communities. The money can be used for building trails, building camping areas, starting up some small saw mills or anything dealing with outdoors.”
Community forests are different from other tenures because they are managed by the local communities.
As stewards of the local forest, they work to sustain biodiversity, watersheds, cultural heritage resources and visual quality, as well as enhance recreational, tourism and other non-timber products.
Community forests are able to facilitate direct relationships between wood supply and wood product manufactures.
Local producers can also access the fibre that suits their specific needs.
For more information on community forest projects, visit www.bccfa.ca.