The creation of the Valemount Community Forest, represented by Valemount Community Forest Company, will help promote economic stability and employment opportunities, while enhancing the ability for local forest stewardship.
Located in the Robson Valley, the Valemount community forest agreement covers 13,197 hectares and includes an allowable annual cut of 35,209 cubic metres. The agreement has an initial term of 25 years and is renewable for another 25-year term after 10 years.
Broad community support has been shown for the creation of the community forest, which has been made possible through Valemount’s purchase of a portion of an existing Carrier Lumber licence. Engagement and consultation was also carried out with area First Nations.
Community forest agreements are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests. A community forest is managed by a local government, community group or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community.
“Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations staff, MLA Shirley Bond, Valemount municipal and community forest staff, Valemount community members and local stakeholders deserve a lot of credit for all of their work to get to this agreement. Their efforts have substantially increased the ministry’s awareness and understanding of just what can be achieved when communities are ready to increase their participation in the forest sector.” – Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
“It has taken a lot of work to reach the successful conclusion we are announcing today. As the local MLA, my job was to ensure that government understood how important this community forest is for economic growth and benefits for Valemount residents. It also means that local communities have a stronger role in forest management in their regions.” – Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount
"This community forest provides us with an excellent avenue to diversify our economy and gain a stronger voice in how the forests around Valemount are managed and sustained." – Jeannette Townsend, mayor, Village of Valemount
“Congratulations to the Valemount community on being awarded this community forest agreement. Every community forest is unique and the BC Community Forest Association is here to support Valemount in leveraging opportunities and generating benefits as defined by the community.” – Erik Leslie, president, BC Community Forest Association
- Our Natural Advantage: A Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia identifies community forests as a key element in supporting prosperous rural forest economies.
- In B.C., there are 57 community forests issued or communities that are close to getting one, accounting for just over two million cubic metres of timber volume.