Forests minister invites Likely-Xat'sull Community Forest and Big Lake Community Association to apply for a community forest agreement.

Forests minister invites Likely-Xat'sull Community Forest and Big Lake Community Association to apply for a community forest agreement.

Likely-Xat’sull and Big Lake invited to apply for community forest partnership

Forests minister invites Likely-Xat’sull Community Forest and Big Lake Community Association to apply for a community forest agreement.

Ministry of Forests Steve Thomson is  inviting the Likely-Xat’sull Community Forest and Big Lake Community Association to apply for a community forest agreement.

Thomson said the invitation to apply is for approximately 20,000 cubic metres of allowable annual cut over a 25-year term, providing 10,000 cubic metres to each partner that could be combined and used jointly in a partnership for the benefit of the local area.

“A successful application by these two partners would help stimulate the local economy, bringing benefits and opportunity to community members,” Thomson said in a press release Saturday. “This new community forest would align with our goal through the forest sector agenda to help keep resource-dependent communities and First Nations strong and stable.”

The invitation from Minister Thomson for Likely-Xatsull Community Forest and Big Lake Community Association to apply for a community forest is exciting news for the nation and the local area, said Xat’sull Chief Donna Dixon.

“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, “ Dixon said. “We look forward to developing working relationships with our neighbouring communities as we move forward with the application.”

Thomson said 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 details of the community forest, including its allowable annual cut.

Erik Leslie, president, BC Community Forest Association, said the Likely-Xatsull Community Forest is known for its ability to innovate and find ways to leverage the community forest agreement for local economic diversification and benefit.

“This new partnership with the Big Lake Community Association will create even more opportunities, and will enable the kind of community engagement and local decision making that leads to sustainable forest management,” Leslie said.

Big Lake Community Association president Bee Hooker, said the association is thrilled with the invitation to apply for a community forest jointly with Likely-Xat’sull Community Forest.