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 Proposed Harvesting Plans

Inaugural harvesting for the Community Forest is planned for 2021 in the area of Gravell Creek and Green River, as shown on the maps linked below. These plans were presented at a virtual information session on April 7, 2021.

If you have questions or to provide feedback about the harvest plans, please contact Klay Tindall, RPF, of Lil’wat Forestry Ventures at klay.tindall@lilwat.ca or (604) 894-6115 ext. 2250.

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 took into consideration the changes that were taking place in the Forest Industry at the time and determined 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 were 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 made at that time there continued to be interest in pursuing this initiative and over the years the Village has 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. Over the past number of years there have been numerous discussions with Provincial representatives and some preliminary research has been completed. The aim of the 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; facilitating potential recreation opportunities and protecting those opportunities that are already in place; review partnership opportunities; and social and economic benefits to the community through potential job creation and retention.

In January 2016, the Community Forest Feasibility Study was completed and presented to Council. To view the Feasibility Study, click on the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Documents section below.

The Study outlined the process to make application and provided information of the potential costs and benefits to undertaking this project and options for partnerships. An opportunity to partner with Lil’wat Nation was presented and in December of 2016, Council resolved to enter into negotiations with Lil’wat Forest Ventures to establish a Partnership Agreement to operate a Community Forest.

In 2017, negotiations proceeded to establish an official partnership between the Village and Lil’wat Nation which included the development of a Limited Partnership Agreement and Shareholders Agreement. As well, naming of the Community Forest Corporation was confirmed and through this process the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Corporation was formed in 2018. An Interim Board was appointed with representation from both communities.

At the same time, work proceeded on the development of a Management Plan andForest Stewardship Plan.. These plans 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 in the areas surrounding Pemberton & Mount Currie. The Agreement 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.