Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest

The Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest (SCF) landbase encompasses 17,727 hectares (ha) of land around the Village of Pemberton and Mount Currie communities. The lands are entirely within the Lil’wat Nation Traditional Territory.

A partnership between the Lil’wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton, the SCF is designed to promote reconciliation, increase community benefits from local resources and local voice in the management of the surrounding forest.

The mission of Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest is to operate a safe, profitable and sustainable community forest. The community forest will be managed for environmental, social and economic values while taking into consideration the desires of its member and neighbouring communities.

A Community Forest Agreement (CFA) between the Province, Lil͛wat Nation and Village of Pemberton, was signed in September 2020, for a period of 25 years with the option to extend.

A CFA is an area-based forest tenure managed by a local government, community group, First Nation or community-held corporation, for the benefit of the entire community. Through a CFA the province transfers decision-making to communities that have a desire to have a greater influence and participate in the stewardship of their local landbase.

In addition to the Community Forest Agreement, a Forest Stewardship Plan and Management Plan for the SCF have been approved, with an Annual Allowable Cut (timber harvest) of 11,000 cubic metres (this equates to about 20-22 ha/year).

The Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest is currently governed by an Interim Board. The formation of a permanent Board is expected to take place in 2021 with the appointment of two new members from the Pemberton and Lil’wat communities.

2021/22 Proposed Harvesting

Location: Upper Mackenzie Basin

The Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest (SCF) is currently planning for the harvest of approximately 19 ha, distributed across five separate small cutblocks, in the Upper Mackenzie Basin area. Harvesting is planned to occur between December 15, 2021 and March 15, 2022. These blocks are proposed to be harvested under the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest tenure agreement, a partnership between the Lil’wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton. The revenue generated from this community forest harvesting will be shared between the Lil’wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton as per the partnership agreement developed for the community forest. Harvest planning and implementation of all activities will be completed by Lil’wat Forestry Ventures (LFV) and all harvesting will be completed by local forestry contractors.

Public Review and Comment Requested

Prior to the application to the Province of British Columbia for a permit to commence harvest operations, the SCF has committed to provide community members an opportunity to review proposed areas for harvesting and to comment on any concerns they may have with harvest of the proposed areas. Information about the current proposed areas for harvest, including information of the forest resources present and known uses by the community are included in this info package. All interested members of the Pemberton and Mount Currie communities are encouraged to review the available information and to relay any comments or concerns to the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest by December 15, 2021. A response to any comments or concerns raised will be provided by LFV, and a summary of the comments/concerns and LFV responses will be posted prior to the cutting permit application stage.

Questions

The community forest tenure system also provides the community with the opportunity to become informed about forest management practices and how the variety of values derived from the forest are identified and managed. Community members are encouraged to submit questions at this time regarding how the variety of resources present in the vicinity of the proposed harvesting (soils, water, wildlife, visuals, recreation, biodiversity, etc) are managed. Forest management professionals from LFV will provide a response to questions raised regarding management of forest resources.

Maps

Please see below maps of the five cutblocks that are proposed to be harvested, an overview map and the full Proposed Harvesting Referral Form:

If you have questions or would like to provide feedback on the proposed harvesting plans by December 15, 2021, please contact Klay Tindall, RPF, of Lil’wat Forestry Ventures at klay.tindall@lilwat.ca or Abe Litz, RPF, of Chartwell Resource Group Limited at alitz@crgl.ca.

Benefits of a Community Forest

As demonstrated by over 58 community forests across BC, the benefits of a community forest include:

  • Local Decision Making: Community Forests are managed by community-based organizations, with decisions reflecting local values and priorities. Decisions take into account the unique local social, economic, ecological and cultural context.
  • Accountability: Local-level decision making supports locally appropriate decisions and improves the incentives to consider the long-term benefits of sustainable management.
  • Profits Remain Local: Earnings from the Community Forest are shared between Lil’wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton. Each community can determine how those profits are used based on their own priorities
  • Local Employment and Economic Development: Community forests create local jobs, enabling people to stay and work locally. They also create economic opportunities for local businesses, community partnerships and contributions from those businesses in the future.
  • Local Engagement and Stewardship: The Speĺkúmtn Community Forest provides local communities with the opportunity to participate in stewarding the local forests and have a say in how forestry looks in our area. Community participation can improve awareness and understanding of forest management.
  • Relationship Building: A Community Forest supports improved communication and collaboration between all who value and use the forest. It provides a strong opportunity for growing relationships among community members and between Pemberton and Lil’wat communities.
  • Wildfire Risk Management: Some areas overlap with identified ‘high-priority’ areas (areas that have higher values at risk due to locations directly adjacent to the community) in the Village of Pemberton’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan. In some cases, wildfire hazard mitigation treatments to reduce forest fuels can include harvesting of some of the timber within these areas, resulting in income for the community forest and increased community safety.

Project Background

In 2001, Village Council considered the changes that were taking place in the forest industry and determined that it would be prudent to investigate the possibility of establishing a community forest in the Pemberton area. In 2005 the Ministry of Forests issued a press release in which the Village of Pemberton, along with the RMOW and District of Squamish, was invited to apply for a five-year probationary community forest licence that would provide up to 10,000 m3 of timber annually. Although application was not pursued there continued to be interest in this initiative. Over the years the Village met with Ministry officials to discuss the community forest program, understand the 2007 timber supply analysis, and consider partnership opportunities.

Due to renewed interest in 2014, Council determined that it would be useful to better understand the feasibility of pursuing this initiative. In 2015, a request for proposals was issued by the Village for a study to explore the feasibility of entering into a Community Forest Agreement with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources Operations. Numerous discussions with Provincial representatives took place and preliminary research was completed. The aim of the feasibility study was to learn about the potential benefits of entering into a community forest agreement, including the establishment of forest stewardship over the lands surrounding the Village; the development of recreation opportunities and protection of those opportunities that are already in place; partnership opportunities; and social and economic benefits to the community through job creation and retention.

The Community Forest Feasibility Study was completed and presented to Council in January of 2016. To view the feasibility study, click on the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Documents section below.

The study outlined the application process and provided information regarding the potential costs and benefits of undertaking the project and options for partnerships. An opportunity to partner with Lil’wat Nation was presented and in December of 2016, Council resolved to negotiate with Lil’wat Forest Ventures to establish a partnership agreement to operate a community forest.

In 2017 an official partnership between the Village and Lil’wat Nation was established, including the development of a Limited Partnership Agreement and Shareholders Agreement. The Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Corporation was formed in 2018 and an  interim Board was appointed with representation from both communities.

At the same time, work proceeded on the development of a management plan and forest stewardship plan, which were presented to the public in the fall of 2018. These plans accompanied the Spelkúmtn Community Forest Limited Partnership’s application to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) for a community forest agreement (CFA) in the areas surrounding Pemberton and Mount Currie. The CFA was approved and announced by FLNRORD on March 11, 2021.

Governance

An Interim Board has been appointed with representation from both communities as follows:

Village of Pemberton

Mayor Mike Richman,

Councillor Ted Craddock,

Nikki Gilmore, Chief Administrative Officer

Lil’wat Nation

Chief Dean Nelson,

Councillor Maxine Bruce,

Kerry Mehaffey, CAO, Lil’wat Nation

Maps & Documents

Contact

For project related questions, please contact Sheena Fraser, Manager of Corporate & Legislative Services at 604.894.6135 or by email at sfraser@pemberton.ca.