The Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation has taken top spot in 2019 for community forests, winning a community forestry award along with a $10,000 grant.
Established in 2016, the Robin Hood Memorial Award for Excellence in Community Forestry and accompanying grant are given annually to the community forest that best exemplifies the values exhibited by the late Robin Hood — a British Columbia community forest pioneer — and the B.C. community forest program. These values include innovation and leadership in land management, building and maintaining social license and involvement with the local community and First Nations, and providing social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits to the local community and First Nations.
“Local governments, community groups and First Nations manage community forests for the benefit of the entire communities where they are located,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Logan Lake Community Forest continues to exemplify the values of the program, and of Robin Hood, by looking for new ways to diversify economic interests, improve stewardship practices and provide benefits to Logan Lake residents and area First Nations.”
Approximately 260,000 cubic metres of fibre have been harvested under the community forest’s tenure, with more than $3 million of the revenue being directed back into the District of Logan Lake and its citizens through more than 40 different community groups and initiatives.
The Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation is also a leader in wildfire mitigation for community interface areas, having completed extensive fuel management that contributed to Logan Lake being recognized as Canada’s first FireSmart community by FireSmart Canada. As of 2018, it has also completed a 10-year, landscape-level wildfire risk management plan for the entire community forest tenure area.
The corporation also hires high school students through its Youth FireSmart Team program, in collaboration with the District of Logan Lake and the Logan Lake Wellness, Health & Youth Society. The program educates the students and gives them hands-on skills in spacing, pruning, piling woody debris, tree and plant identification, wildfire behaviour and biodiversity. It also includes discussions on career paths and university applications.
Much of the funding for its FireSmart activities and planning is provided through the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, Community Resilience Investment program and Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.
In July 2017, its FireSmart work was put to the test by a human-caused fire south of town. With no ladder fuels or dense understory to climb up the canopy, the fire remained only a grass fire and was able to be contained by municipal fire crews and the BC Wildfire Service.
The corporation also maintains a commitment to fostering relationships with 23 unique First Nation groups regarding the tenure area. Efforts include a memorandum of understanding being worked through with the Skeetchestn Indian Band and further discussions with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and the the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation. Logan Lake Community Forest pays for First Nations to review 100% of the field and office activities related to roads and blocks and implements recommendations from First Nation reviews.
“Robin Hood was known in the community forest network as someone with uncompromising determination to improve the quality of life for his local community and area First Nations,” said Jennifer Gunter, executive director of the BC Community Forest Association. “Congratulations to the Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation for championing Robin’s vision and bringing true benefits to the citizens and First Nations around Logan Lake.”
Community forest agreements carry an initial term of 25 years and are replaceable for another 25-year term after 10 years. They are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests, while expanding economic opportunities and opening doors to local job creation.
- The Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation:
- performs joint planning with local recreation groups and was able to complete maintenance and construction of approximately 19 kilometres of ATV trails in 2018, following widespread community involvement and engagement;
- holds an annual community open house that is attended by 50 to 100 residents;
- has awarded $3,000 in annual bursaries since 2017 to Logan Lake Secondary school graduates;
- reforested more than 400 hectares with roughly 503,000 seedlings in 2018, which was within two years of harvest;
- has a goal of zero burning for waste wood and has researched areas for greater fibre use; and
- has provided saw-training opportunities for BC Wildfire Service staff working out of the Kamloops Fire Centre.
- In British Columbia, there are 63 community forest agreements issued or communities that are close to getting one, accounting for approximately two million cubic metres of timber volume.
Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation: http://loganlakecommunityforest.com
BC Community Forest Association: http://bccfa.ca
A tribute with more information about Robin Hood’s impact on the community forest program can be found on the BC Community Forest Association website: http://bccfa.ca/rip-our-beloved-robin-hood/