FORT NELSON, B.C. – Fort Nelson council addressed residents’ concerns during a meeting last week about harvest operations taking place within the community forest.

Councillors and staff with Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) provided a background on the Fort Nelson Community Forest Agreement, including a summary of the management and business objectives.

Community forests are long-term, area-based tenures, designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests while expanding economic opportunities, according to the province.

In partnership with the B.C. government, the NRRM, and Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN), the agreement was approved in 2019 and included an annual allowable cut (AAC) of up to 185,000 cubic meters from 191,571 hectares of Crown land.

The tenure was issued effective April 1st, 2020, for a term of 25 years.

According to a report to council on March 28th,  the management and the business plan objectives were made to reflect the communities’ principles and values with a vision of developing a self-reliant, locally controlled, financially sound and responsible community forest.

The report also lays out the short and long-term goals of the Fort Nelson Community Forest Agreement.

The short-term goals include management of the license, development of operational capacity, generation of start-up revenue, establishing one more local producer, and exploring alternate markets for non-timber resources.

Long-term business goals mostly focus on reinvesting the profits back into the community, establishing long-term employment opportunities for local residents, fostering the development of a local market for timber and the provision of funding for a large-scale capital project.

The NRRM says an operational update from the Community Forest board of directors is anticipated for mid-April.