North Island forestry plan first in B.C. to shape new framework for sustainable forest management


A major new forestry land-use agreement between First Nations, Western Forest Products, the Province and other groups is taking final shape on the North Island.

The Gwa’ni Project is a partnership between the ‘Namgis First Nation and the B.C. government to develop recommendations about land and resource management in the Nimpkish Valley.

The Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 37 Forest Landscape Plan Pilot Project is one of four provincial pilot projects shaping a new framework for sustainable forest management in B.C.

TFL 37 stretches down the Nimpkish Valley between Port McNeill and Woss.

“This is a fantastic draft that we’re very, very proud of and we are hopeful that we’re going to get endorsement from the public,” said Andrew Ashford, the local district manager for the Ministry of Forests at an open house in Port McNeill Wednesday night.

The project has been in the works since the ‘Namgis First Nation and B.C. government signed a memorandum of understanding in January 2021.

“It signals a move away from enhanced forestry zones towards general special management zones and promises to be beneficial to the local Namgis First Nation, Western Forest Products and the public which will focus on riparian retention, water quality, better outcomes for wildlife at the same time as realizing a sustainability and certainty in timber supply over time,” added Matt Leroy of the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.

This open house was the first chance for the public to learn more about the agreement.

“Certainty of access to log supply and job stability. I think going forward this is a really good project,” said Port McNeill Mayor James Furney.

The plan is the first advance land use planning process in the province.

“We looked at what we wanted to accomplish as far as land use which is really sound, sustainable ecosystems as well as a forestry economy that is effective on the North Island, said Namgis First Nation Coun. Kelly Speck.

Projections have been done as far out as 300 years. Increased harvests will be good for the local economy.

“There’s going to be more blocks which makes more fibre available for the chip plants so this plan is good for the chip plant and the people who work there,” stated Dough Mosher, Atli Resources CEO.

David Eby, B.C.’s premier, even weighed in on it this week.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work with the First Nations agreement around providing that certainty around fibre for the island working with Western Forest Products making sure there’s certainly around what we’re doing going forward,” he said.

The agreement that still needs final approval even protects caves and karst on the North Island.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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