By Korie Marshall
The Valemount and McBride Community Forests and Carrier Lumber plan to coordinate their comments to the Robson Valley Timber Supply Review. The completion of their proposed transfer of Carrier’s forest licenses to the Community Forests may depend on it.
The proposed McBride Community Forest/Valemount Community Forest purchase and transfer of Carrier Lumber’s forest license is “at a critical stage and is tied in many ways to the Timber Supply Review determination,” Marc von der Gonna, manager of McBride Community Forest, wrote in a report to McBride Council last week.
Timber Supply Areas (TSA) are periodically reviewed by the Province to determine the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) for the region, or how much fibre can be harvested. Then the Ministry of Lands, Forests and Natural Resources assigns portions of that total amount to the various license holders.
Von der Gonna’s report says it is likely the annual allowable cut will be reduced because of the removal of about one third of the timber harvesting land base since the last review. Some area was removed from the land base to create the Valemount and Dunster Community Forests and to exclude inoperable drainage and economically inaccessible areas. Von der Gonna suggests the Chief Forester may also decide to decrease the allowable cut based on past management performance. For example, poor wood markets over the last decade have led to low harvesting levels by license holders outside the community forests, which could affect the calculation of the timber harvesting land base.
Von der Gonna recommends in his report that McBride, Valemount and Carrier Lumber coordinate their input and make three comments:
– The Chief Forester should reduce the target annual allowable cut to committed volume only, around 390,000-400,000 square meters.
– The Chief Forester should resist the urge to partition the cedar/hemlock cut until the next Timber Supply Review in light of the pending forest license transfer to MCFC and VCF, as both community forests have proven their ability to move multiple species and have mills that need a cedar supply.
– The Chief Forester should instruct the Inventory Branch to conduct further field studies to refine the mature stand estimates.
Craig Pryor, manager of Valemount Community Forest, confirmed they are working towards united comments. “We feel that this approach would hold more weight with the government and would help us to move towards our common objectives.”
Pryor says this annual allowable cut determination will have an impact on everyone in the valley for years to come. He says the people in the Robson Valley need to express their views in order to move forward in a way that works for us.
The Robson Valley Timber Supply Area review team is accepting comments on a public discussion paper until Feb. 3rd. The discussion paper is available on the BC Government’s website. Comments can be sent by email to [email protected] or by mail: McBride Field Office at 300 Robson Centre, Box 40, McBride BC, V0J 2E0.