Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society recognized for excellence in community forestry

The Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society (LNTCFS) was presented with the Robin Hood Memorial Award for Excellence in Community Forestry by Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development during the 2018 BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA) Conference, held May 24-26, in Burns Lake, and hosted by the Burns Lake, Chinook and Cheslatta Community Forests.

In announcing the winner, Minister Donaldson said, “The 2018 winner, who was runner-up last year, is the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, near Barriere. They were chosen based on, among other things, economic diversification efforts, youth employment and training, significant community contributions and partnering and engagement with Simcpw First Nation.”

LNTCFS manager Mike Francis accepted the award on behalf of the Society.

The LNTCFS represents the communities of Simpcw First Nation, McLure, Chu Chua, Little Fort and Barriere. Since it was established in 2007, the community forest has created numerous benefits for the communities, including grants to not for profit organizations, scholarships and bursaries for graduating students. They are actively attracting the value-added industry to the area by supplying a steady supply of fibre, and are creating new, sustainable job opportunities. They recently purchased land and have set up a small value added mill, where community members are employed through a federal Job Creation Program.

“The LNTCFS stands out as a leader in creating local economic development, employment and educational opportunities in the area. They are extraordinarily creative and innovative in how they make the most of the community forest and the revenues it generates”, said BCCFA executive director Jennifer Gunter.

The $10,000 grant honours Robin Hood, a long-time president of the BCCFA and champion of community forests. Established in 2016, the award is given annually to the community forest that best exemplifies innovation and leadership in land management, efforts to build and maintain social licence, and initiatives that provide community benefit. This year, there were eight solid candidates, with four standouts. Those receiving honourable mention include, Burns Lake, Logan Lake and Creston Community Forests.

The 14th annual event, hosted by the Burns Lake, Chinook and Cheslatta Community Forests brought together representatives from thirty community forests, First Nations, elected officials, the provincial government, forest professionals, researchers and students. The over capacity crowd brought challenges, but the hosts drew upon local resources and made everyone welcome and comfortable. The 2019 BCCFA Conference and AGM will be held in Mission in June, hosted by the Mission Municipal Forest.

For more information on the British Columbia Community Forest Association go to: http://bccfa.ca/

To find out about the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society go to: https://lntcfs.org

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