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 continued community transparency and engagement, as well as
implementing the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(UNDRIP) with our First Nation partners.
We have successfully maintained our Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Re-Certification in 2019 and
finalized the implementation of the Boer Mountain Hazard Abatement Project. We completed a Landscape
Fire Management Plan and embarked on phase one of implementation. This is a 3-5-year project to
support and enhance community safety and community forest sustainability. Stay tuned for
demonstrations, (Field Bus Tours) in early summer to the Mackenzie/Guyishton Lake area. My goal is to
continue emphasizing and demonstrating the important social fabric that BLCF has in the community.
Throughout the year, we held key information sessions to promote and enhance our social licence. Our 6th
Annual Public Information Open House/Community BBQ had the greatest turnout yet, serving more than
300 burgers and hot dogs. We completed many community meetings and presentations to showcase the
works of the Mountain Pine Beetle Mitigation Project (MPBMP) efforts and the strategic direction of the
BLCF. We participated in the Fall Fair where we were able to talk to many community members
answering any questions or concerns. Most recently, we participated in the First Annual Fun, Frost.
Family Festival, which was a Community success. We were very pleased with the large turn out of the
community members (approximately 300 people), on such a crisp evening. We were happy to be able to
warm them up by serving BBQ hot dogs and individually served over 500 cups of hot chocolate.
We have submitted our new Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) and our Management Plan #4 to the Ministry of
Forest for review and approval. This is a 10-year strategic focus and will set us on the path ‘Beyond the
Beetle’. All of these efforts have continued to support our local milling facilities; Babine, Decker, Tahtsa
Timber and Pinnacle Pellet, by providing fibre for utilization.
We will continue our presence at future community events and activities to offer the opportunity for the
community to ask questions and get informed about the activities of the community forest. There is a
wealth of information available and I really encourage everyone to ask the questions and get informed!
We are applying state of the art technologies in the resource sector, making our activities at BLCF
exemplary. There is a dedicated team of volunteers – your Board of Directors, coming from diverse
backgrounds that represent all aspects of our community. I encourage you to meet them and discuss the
strategic direction of BLCF.
For many community members, the 2018 unprecedented wildfire season is still vivid in their memory,
and the early start in 2019 at Lejac was a stark reminder that we cannot be complacent. The extent of the
mountain pine beetle epidemic has exacerbated these effects, leaving many of our communities in
extreme fire danger. Collectively we need to recognize that we live in a fire-based ecosystem, and as such,
our day to day life and our forest management must reflect strategies that support this frequent landscape
change. Although the Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) of the late 90s contemplated the
possible extent of landscape-level changes that have come with the mountain pine beetle epidemic of the
mid-2000s, the legislation has not kept pace.
I am excited to report, that with support from the Forest District team, and Northwest Fire Center, we
have embarked on doing everything we can to manage this risk. The Ministry of Forest has committed to
the removal of the landscape constrains to support this landscape fire ecosystem-based initiative. Phase
one is the area south of town, the Mackenize/Guyishton Lake area.
The Community Forest Agreement K1A licence is an amazingly viable resource and BCLF is on the path of
success. I believe as a community forest, we are a top performing community forest in the province and
our 2019 Resource Industry Award recognition exemplifies these achievements. On behalf of the Board
and Staff, we would like to thank you for this recognition.
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 any questions, please feel free to stop by the community forest office located at 153 Francois
Lake Drive. Call: (250) 692-7724 to schedule a specific time to discuss matters that are important to you.
On behalf of the Board and staff of Comfor Management Services Ltd. and Burns Lake Community Forest
Ltd., I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Frank Varga RPF
Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd
ComFor Management Services Ltd