Opportunities for increased local forest stewardship near Likely and Big Lake could become reality.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson is inviting the Likely-Xatsull Community Forest and Big Lake Community Association to apply for a community forest agreement.
Thomson said in a media release Saturday the invitation to apply is for approximately 20,000 cubic meters of allowable annual cut over a 25-year term, providing 10,000 cubic meters to each partner that could be combined and used jointly in a partnership for the benefit of the local area.
“A successful application will result in a community forest that will create economic, educational and capacity building opportunities for Big Lake and area. With the considerable pressures that have affected jobs in the mining and forest sectors, this is extremely welcome news, giving us more opportunity to help ourselves over the long term, said Big Lake Community Association president, Bee Hooker.
Thomson says the partnership will need to submit an application, including a management plan to the ministry’s district manager for approval prior to the community forest agreement being issued.
The management plan will help the district manager determine the details of the community forest, including its allowable annual cut.
“The Xatsull First Nation fully supports the increased opportunities in forest stewardship and the community benefits derived from local management that a new community forest represents. We look forward to developing working relationships with our neighboring communities as we move forward with the application,” said Xat’sull Chief Donna Dixon.
(Files from Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations)