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The agreement signed with Little Prairie Community Forest Inc., which represents those three communities, will enable local management of forest resources for timber, recreation and cultural values over the next 25 years in an area north of Chetwynd and south of Moberly Lake. This includes the right to harvest 20,000 cubic metres of timber per year from the Dawson Creek timber supply area, to manage ancestral sites sacred to local First Nations, and to provide recreational activities such as guided hiking experiences.

“This will create a unique economic opportunity for our respective communities and provides an important management tool for the forest lands immediately adjacent to our settlements,” said Chetwynd’s outgoing mayor, Evan Saugstad, in a statement. “More importantly, the community forest fosters a new relationship and establishes an essential partnership between the District of Chetwynd and West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations.”

“The land is part and parcel to who we are as a people. Our forests are renewable resources and will continue to provide for us long into the future,” said Chief Roland Wilson of the West Moberly First Nation in a statement.

“We want to make the future generations proud when they look back at the decisions we make for this forest,” added Chief Harley Davis of the Saulteau First Nations in a statement.

Little Prairie will use its community forest licence to salvage economic value from lodgepole pine trees that have been killed by the mountain pine beetle infestation. It will also be exploring potential opportunities to provide a hands-on learning environment and educational opportunities for future forest workers in the region.

The provincial government states that more than 50 community forests are operating or are in the planning stages in British Columbia. 

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