President Randy Kappes has released an update of the West Boundary Community Forest guiding principles, which include the provision of local employment opportunities by hiring qualified staff to manage and oversee community forest operations, including harvesting and silviculture. The following is a list of required services to sustain the community forest and the operators recruited to date:
1. Layout-Sidley Mountain Forestry, Rock Creek.
2. Logging: Mid-Boundary Logging Ltd, Midway.
3. Hauling: Tom Bosovich and Mid-Boundary trucks, Midway.
4. Roadwork: R&S Lang, Midway.
5. Mapping: Commons Place Consulting Ltd. Graham Watt, Grand Forks.
6. Rehabilitation: R&S Lang, Midway.
7. Pile Burning: Green Peaks. Owen Stuart, Midway.
8. Seeding: Nu Venture Services. Wilf Lindquist, Rock Creek.
9. Tree Planting: Green Peaks, Owen Stuart, Midway.
The WBCF also mandates to maintain an economically viable forest through the employment of innovative harvesting methods and equipment while following provincial utilization standards and attempting to maximize that utilization through value added products. It would also like to foster cooperation with adjacent woodlot licensees to take advantage of joint efficiency’s in forest operations and infrastructure as well as utilize market cycles to maximize economic advantage. One of the WBCF’s long term objectives is to replace lower productivity stands with higher valued timber. Initiatives include:
-the sale of pulp logs and tops to local chipping facility.
-peeler logs are being sold to Atco, cedar poles to Bell Pole, pine poles to Gorman and oversized saw logs to InterFor.
-communication has begun with Greg Lee and Deborah Friesen regarding their adjacent woodlots.
-the logging of lodge pole and larch with market value higher than other species.
-larch is being planted to enhance the value of future stands.
In addition, the WBCF aims to provide educational opportunities by allowing the Community Forest to be used as a classroom for forest related courses. It hopes to work with the Phoenix Interpretive Forest Society in informing the general public of forestry issues and historical values and encourage local schools to participate in field trips and labour related projects, as well as assisting with ongoing research projects and encouraging future research with the forest sciences community. Presently, masters students from the University of British Columbia (UBC) are working on a project to analyze the visual quality challenges the WBCF will face in the future and developing techniques to help prevent timber supply problems.
Other proposed initiatives include an ecosystem restoration project, designed to provide information and data regarding the feasibility of returning some forested areas to grasslands, encouraging local school participation and field trips, partnering with the Phoenix Interpretive Forest Society on future cut blocks and the launch of a WBCF website.
As well, the WBCF aims to provide social and recreational opportunities for the general public. The Community Forest will be open for provincially sanctioned recreational activities while protecting and enhancing existing recreational infrastructure such as ski trails and designated recreation sites. It also hopes to use some of its surplus funds for scholarships and community development projects. The WBCF is dedicated to recognizing the rights of other stakeholders and the community in an effort to foster good relationships with other land users and protect existing user infrastructure by keeping the public and other users informed of Community Forest plans and other related issues through meetings and annual reports. This will allow for public and other stakeholder input into proposed forest activities.
Plans to maintain a sustainable, healthy and safe forest environment are paramount to the WBCF mandate. These include checking and confirming existing inventories to ensure that calculated allowable annual cuts (AAC’s) are accurate and sustainable, as well as tracking ongoing surveillance of forest health factors that may affect existing stands. Following provincial fire protection regulations to minimize fire danger is also considered crucial, as is adhering to specific harvesting priorities: a) blow down, fire killed and insect infested stands, b) stands susceptible to catastrophic insect infestations, c) diseased, decadent and mature stands and d) other stands.
This spring and summer, Sidley Mountain Forestry will be helping the WBCF with an inventory assessment, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will be offering options for potential trap trees for fir beetle. Fuel management has been identified as a priority in all cut blocks and dry lodge pole stands will be targeted in the Phoenix area. The area affected by the wildfire in Westbridge will also be assessed for commercial viability.
The West Boundary Community Forest has laid out an ambitious plan for the year ahead, though with the help of the myriad of forestry experts throughout the region, it appears poised to do its part in helping sustain an important component of the Boundary economy.