By Laura Keil

The Dunster Community Forest (DCF) is looking to adopt the same Forest Stewardship Plan as Carrier Lumber and the Valemount Community Forest until July 2022, while it awaits clarification from the Province on language regarding First Nations in its own revised plan.

DCF Manager Ray Thiessen said their proposed stewardship plan was rejected, but the Province was unable to provide timely instructions on how to fix it. Joining Carrier’s stewardship plan buys them more time to figure it out, a move advised by their government partners.

“There’s a lot of changes regarding First Nations that nobody has clear direction on in the District,” Thiessen said. “We didn’t feel we had a reasonable amount of time to wait for the government to sort that out before ours expired (in June 2021).”

He said the practical differences of joining Carrier’s plan will be few. The only material difference is DCF will not be able to use their Deciduous Stocking Standard between June 2021 and July 2022, Thiessen said. But a one-year hiatus won’t make much impact on the forest, since earlier harvesting will still fall under their previous standard.

“This one-year gap isn’t going to change anything,” he said.

Thiessen said the Province has changed their tune on deciduous trees, recognizing how they are an important part of ecosystems, fire prevention, biodiversity and pest management, and he expects the next Forest Stewardship

Plans will likely include different minimum requirements.

He said in the McBride area especially, there’s a significant problem with spruce leader weevil in young plantations.

“Once it’s there, it’s hard to get rid of. One of the best ways to do it is to have a mixed forest to confuse the bugs.”

He said Carrier Lumber also has more detail in their plan regarding how they log near streams, but it won’t change how the DCF deals with their own watershed.

“It speaks to a minimum standard, it doesn’t necessarily speak to a practice,” Thiessen explained. “Dunster (Community Forest) has said, ‘We’re going to meet the minimum standard and we have these other practices we do, that we’re going to continue doing.”

The DCF will remain on Carrier’s plan until July 2022, at which time they will either renew their own plan or stay on under a revised plan with Carrier and VCF. Either way, it will likely include a more robust deciduous stocking standard, he said.

“We will continue our mission to try to include deciduous in the stands.”

Public Comment
The public can comment on the amendment to Carrier and VCF’s amended Forest Stewardship Plan until March 18th, 2021. Documents can be viewed at Carrier Lumber’s office in Prince George (250-563-9271), the Dunster Community Forest Society (250-569-7543), or the Valemount Community Forest office (250-566-4610). Appointments must be made first.