250-692-7724 info@blcomfor.com

General Manager Christmas Message

As we close this calendar year, I’d like to reflect on the accomplishments of Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd. (BLCF) and review the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

You may remember that I made commitments to focus our efforts on long-term strategic goals “beyond the beetle”.  I have committed to community transparency, our First Nation partners, and community engagement in the proceedings of the community forest.  The following is a review of the progress we have made this year:

  • Achieved Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification as of November 10, 2017. The achievement of this certification is a major milestone for Burns Lake Community Forest, and a result of the dedication of staff and support from the contracting community.
  • Achieved Safe Certification to support and promote a safe working environment for staff, contractors, and community members.
  • Completed an Operational and Financial Analysis. We are also close to the completion of our Mountain Pine Beetle Mitigation Project. This will help to develop a long-term picture of what the community forest area-based tenure has to offer “beyond the beetle”. I will communicate the final strategies in the new year and you will have an opportunity to provide your input. Following completion, we will provide maps and information regarding the activities and changes coming to the community forest at our Annual General Meeting, Open House/Community BBQ, and Fall Fair Booth in 2018.
  • Held key information sessions beyond our legal requirement. Our 4th Annual Open House/Community BBQ had a great turnout with many community members in attendance. We held two Community Engagement Sessions, one was open to the public and the second was for local contractors. We also had our booth set up at the Lakes District Fall Fair again.  We will further engage in future community events and activities to offer the opportunity for the community to ask questions and get informed about the proceedings of Burns Lake Community Forest. BLCF has an amazing Board of Directors coming from diverse backgrounds that represent all aspects of our community. I encourage you to meet them as they pertain to the strategic direction of BLCF.

My goal is to continue emphasizing the significant role that BLCF plays in the local economy, not only from an employment and financial view but also from a social and environmental perspective.  Our challenges ahead are not only to find a sustainable and economically viable harvest level, but long-term strategic hazard assessments while maintaining the social and environmental values at heart.  We will communicate these efforts through the local paper, our Facebook page and website.

If you look upon the southern hillsides of Burns Lake, you may have noted considerable blowdown. These areas no longer look how they were intended to and are now a major fire hazard to our community and the long-term viability of the community forest. The Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMP’s) of the late 90’s, and LRMP amendments of the last couple years, did not contemplate the extent of landscape-level changes that came with the mountain pine beetle epidemic of 2004 and beyond. These Visual Quality Objectives (VQOs) and Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs) were established in the context to meet a range of natural variation objectives for ecosystem values; however, these ecosystems are not like the coastal rainforests of Vancouver Island or even the western portion of the Skeena District. These forests belong to a Natural Disturbance Type 3 (or NTD3). This simply means that fires are frequent, and they are stand replacing fires. The maintenance of old forests in large tracks is not natural to this landscape.

Through our previous communications, Management Plan #3, and Allowable Annual Cut request, BLCF stated and requested the flexibility to manage and implement hazard assessment findings as they relate to VQOs, as well as hazards around the community due to dead pine.  To date, BLCF has been severely restricted to implement a strategic hazard management plan.

The K1A licence is an amazingly viable resource and BCLF is on the path of success. I want you all to join me in celebrating our successes and in helping to manage the upcoming challenges. I encourage all community members to explore all that BLCF does in our community and support BCLF in managing this forest licence for what it is- an area-based tenure.

If you have specific questions, please feel free to stop by the community forest office located at 153 Francois Lake Drive.  Call (250) 692-7724 and schedule a specific time to discuss matters that are important to you.  I also want to encourage you to express your concerns to the local Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

On behalf of the Board and staff of Comfor Management Services Ltd. and Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd., I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Frank Varga
General Manager
Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd.
Comfor Management Services Ltd.

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