McLeod Lake Band & Mackenzie Celebrate Community Forest

Ministry of Forests and Range Press Release, August 7 2009

McLeod Lake Band & Mackenzie Celebrate Community Forest

MCLEOD LAKE – Minister of Forests and Range Pat Bell joined McLeod Lake Indian Band Chief Derek Orr and District of Mackenzie Mayor Stephanie Killam to celebrate British Columbia’s newest community forest.

“This community forest will generate employment ranging from enhanced silviculture to finished wood products and gives the communities direct management of specific natural and recreation areas,” said Bell. “The strong partnership between the McLeod Lake Indian Band and the District of Mackenzie is a model of communities working together to promote an area’s economy and quality of life.”

The community forest agreement grants the McLeod Lake Mackenzie Community Forest Limited Partnership the right to harvest up to 30,000 cubic metres of timber per year on 24,218 hectares of public forest lands in the Mackenzie timber supply area. The partnership is jointly operated by the District of Mackenzie and the McLeod Lake Indian Band. The community forest has five separate parts, the largest of which is 8,296 hectares, just north of McLeod Lake.

“This Community Forest Licence will provide long-term future benefits to the members of the McLeod Lake Indian Band and everyone living in the McLeod Lake-Mackenzie area,” said Chief Orr. “It enables local people to have direct input on how the forest that surrounds them is managed.”

Portions of the community forest also surround Mackenzie and include Morfee, Lost and Gantahaz Lakes, the Mackenzie cross-country ski trail, and the Mugaha Marsh sensitive area, all of which will continue to be managed for wildlife, water, recreation and scenic qualities.

“We are confident the partnership in this venture between the McLeod Lake Indian Band and the District of Mackenzie will be extremely important in further developing and strengthening the relationship between the two communities,” said Mayor Killam. “The members of the Community Forest Board spent a great deal of personal time and effort in the pursuit of this opportunity, and it is now offering greater control over our own resources, and the prospect of diversifying the utilization of our timber.”

Other sections of the community forest are on the west side of Williston Lake and near the Heather Dina Lakes, approximately 40 kilometres north of Mackenzie.

“The District of Mackenzie and the McLeod Lake Indian Band have shown collective leadership in the set up of the corporate structure they are using to operate a community forest tenure,” said Susan Mulkey, extension and communication manager at the B.C. Community Forest Association. “It is a clear and helpful road map for future partnerships between First Nations and municipalities.”

Community forest agreements are area-based tenures that enable communities to more fully participate in the stewardship of local Crown forest resources. These tenures provide communities exclusive rights to harvest timber, as well as the opportunity to manage other forest resources such as botanical products, recreation, wildlife, water and scenic viewscapes. There are more than 50 community forests operating or in the planning stages in British Columbia.

[Link to original press release:]

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