The following is a news release from Fort Nelson First Nation and the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality on the signing of the Community Forest Agreement
"June 29, 2020 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
History made as largest community forest in B.C. awarded to FNFN/NRRM partnership:
Unprecedented three-year collaboration results in historic award
A partnership of the Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) and Northern Rockies Regional Municipality(NRRM) has received the largest community forest licence ever awarded in British Columbia.
With an annual allowable cut (AAC) of up to 217,650 cubic metres from approximately 200,000 hectares of specified Crown land in the Fort Nelson area, the licence awarded to the FNFN/NRRM partnership has both the largest harvestable volume, as well as the largest physical area, of any community forest in the province.
The Fort Nelson Community Forest is a key part of rebuilding a resilient, diverse and sustainable forest economy which will provide secure jobs and social benefits for both communities.
The award represents a resounding success and a new level of collaboration for the two local governments, who both approved entering into the community forest licence agreement in
separate meetings in late May. The licence was formally executed on June 19, 2020.
FNFN and NRRM have worked together over the last three years to develop the community forest and the partnership structure that will hold and operate the licence, and steering a
comprehensive public engagement process. Each government has contributed significant time, resources and effort to the project to ensure that a full management plan is in place, identifying a sustainable forestry stewardship approach that will also protect key traditional use areas.
Fort Nelson First Nation Chief Sharleen Gale said, “The Community Forest means that our people will own forestry opportunities here in FNFN territory. This partnership between NRRM and FNFN is a win-win for our local governments, our members and the local residents that reside here in our territory. We need to keep the benefits of our forest economy local and in our control. This is a big step forward and we welcome this joint project with our partners NRRM. It will bring much needed local employment for former oil and gas workers and ensure that this focus continues to be community driven.”
Northern Rockies Mayor Gary Foster commented, “The attainment of the Fort Nelson Community Forest, the largest in the province, represents a crucial step toward breathing life
back into the region’s economy. It is also proof positive of what can be accomplished when [the Northern Rockies] come together in common cause with our neighbours and partners with Fort Nelson First Nation. I believe that we will all look back on this accomplishment as a turning point in the history of the entire community.”
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Chief Sharleen Gale, Fort Nelson First Nation P: 250.500.1383
Mayor Gary Foster, Northern Rockies Regional Municipality P: 250.500.1060
Director Jim Snetsinger, Fort Nelson Community Forest P: 250.981.7109
Director Steve Lindsey, Fort Nelson Community Forest P: 250.774.6866"