The Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society provided funding to the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association in Barriere, B.C., to build a 20 stall horse barn at the fairgrounds in Barriere, and also partnered with the NTFFRA in a Job Creation Program to build the barn. (Jill Hayward photo)

The Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society provided funding to the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association in Barriere, B.C., to build a 20 stall horse barn at the fairgrounds in Barriere, and also partnered with the NTFFRA in a Job Creation Program to build the barn. (Jill Hayward photo)

Lower North Thompson Community Forest reports $240K going towards supporting local communities

The Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society (LNTCFS) was founded in 2003 after the McLure Wildfire had roared through the area that summer.

The LNTCFS represents the communities of the Lower North Thompson Valley, from McLure to Little Fort, and east to Agate Bay. This non-profit business aims to secure local control of forest resources and supports opportunities for long-term sustainable management and stewardship of local forest ecosystems. Throughout the past 18 years the LNTCFS has provided an array of economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits to the local rural and indigenous communities which it serves.

LNTCFS manager Mike Francis, RPF, advises that the organization currently employs four full-time positions and one part-time position, as well as four to five seasonal positions for high school and university students. Further to this, they have been partnered with the Ministry of Social Development to provide additional Job Creation Programs that have employed eligible candidates from local communities around Barriere.

Summer Student Sky Jarvis pcommented after participated in the 2021 program, “The Community Forest has given me the skills and confidence to pursue a career in Forestry. I hope to one day practice forestry in a sustainable fashion that provides benefits to local communities while protecting environmental values”

You’ll find the LNTCFS millsite is located on Gilbert Drive in the Barriere Industrial Park and is the place where a portion of their harvested fiber is used to generate custom milling orders as well as provide locals with a sustainable source of firewood for residential heating.

A strategic Wildfire Management Plan has recently been created.

“This plan has identified areas from a sliding scale of low to high wildfire risk within and around the community forest, namely key human infrastructure,” gtells Francis. “This plan was created in partnership with Forsite Consultants Ltd and will guide forest harvest in areas noted as high risk in order to mitigate potential negative impacts should there be another local fire. Forsite is currently developing fuel management prescriptions to further support the implementation of this plan.”

Being a non-profit business, excess LNTCFS funds are disbursed annually through a granting process.

This year the LNTCFS are extremely pleased to announce that $100,000 will be disbursed through their annual Community Grants Program, as well as $40,000 in scholarships/bursaries for the Barriere Graduating Class of 2022.

“These awards provide a way for the LNTCFS to directly reinvest back into the communities and people in the Lower North Thompson Valley,” said Francis.”

“The LNTCFS full-heartedly believe in reconciliation with the Indigenous communities whose unceded and ancestral territories support the current communities and economic opportunities within British Columbia,” stated Francis, “We hope to honour these communities through sustainable management of forest resources as well as partnerships to promote community development, education and training.

“This said, the LNTCFS is pleased to have provided a $100,000 financial contribution to the Simpcw First Nation to support the creation of a Chua Chua Indigenous Initial Attack Crew following a historic agreement between Simpcw First Nation and the BC Wildfire Service.”

In addition to providing employment opportunities, the LNTCFS’s investment will benefit other local non-Indigenous communities through improved wildfire response times and the ability to apply local knowledge of the area that can better protect local infrastructure and resources. Sustainable forestry provides benefits to more than just humans. It also means focusing on the goods and services that forests provide beyond the timber values. Some of these non-timber forest products include recreation, hunting, fishing, water regulation, wildlife habitat, and carbon storage.

“The LNTCFS is committed to sustainability,” added Francis, “As such they are committed to managing and protecting both timber and non-timber values. Management objectives are outlined in their Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP). FSP’s guide forest harvest planning, and must be reviewed and updated every five years to adapt to changing social values.”

This past year the LNTCFS has implemented their new FSP which Francis says aims to better protect water and fish resources through increased retention for streams.

Furthermore, the LNTCFS has dedicated portions of its revenue to an internally restricted Forest Stewardship Fund that has been used for reinvestment back into the community forest land base. Some projects supported with this fund include rehabilitation of low value stands and legacy roads, building and installing the Dixon Lake Fishing dock, and the creation of Fisher den boxes for installation throughout the community forest area.

Organizations interested in applying to the LNTCFS Community Grants Program must submit a completed grant application form by Dec. 31, 2021, to be considered. To apply, visit: grants/ or you can contact the LNTCFS at 250-672-1941. Grant applications are reviewed and discussed by the LNTCFS Board of Directors before decisions are made as to the recipients for that year.


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