The LNTCFS uses a large outdoor wood boiler to heat their Kiln where the milled wood is dried (shown here). The wood boiler burns wood chips which are stored inside a container to keep them dry. Jill Hayward photo

Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society holds accountability meeting and tour in Barriere

The Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society (LNTCFS) recently held a number of accountability meetings and open houses with a meal included in the communities of McLure, Squam Bay, Barriere, Chu Chua and Little Fort. Residents in the areas were encouraged by the LNTCFS to, “Learn about your community forest, and share your ideas about the Lower North Thompson’s future”.

District of Barriere CAO, Colleen Hannigan, included the following overview in her report to Barriere Council after attending the LNTCFS event in Barriere at the Society’s mill.

“LNTCFS Manager Mike Francis, RPF, and Chairman Harley Wright, assisted by other employees, provided an interesting update on the LNTCFS’s activities over the last two years. The 8,254 ha community forest runs from just west of East Barriere Lake between the Barriere River and the Dixon Lakes. The Society generated $2.67 million in sales in 2016/17 fiscal with a total volume of 26,957m3 of wood. They sell to Tolko Heffley (19%), Gilbert Smith (19%), Interfor (57%) and other various smaller firewood, house logs, rails and pulp. They use a number of smaller local contractors for logging, silviculture and development planning.

“A recent positive change is the Single Cutting Permit for their entire Community Forest Management Plan Area instead of the old cut block permits. “LNTCFS are also making significant benefits to the lands base through stumping to combat root disease, planting 105,000 new seedlings in the spring of 2017 and 109,000 in 2018. They put $30,000 per year into the Community Forest Stewardship Fund towards rehabilitation, incremental silviculture and recreation. In 2017 they fertilized 827 hectares by air, an investment of $435,000. They invested $20,000 into legacy roads, landings and trail rehabilitation. For five years they have hired two summer students at the university level and sponsor JCP (Job Creation Partnership) projects which provides training and work experience for EI funded participants. They have worked on mountain bike trails, and built docks, picnic tables, benches, outhouses and other structures for recreation sites and other community uses.

“Over the last year they have developed the property on Gilbert Drive with municipal water and power to service a 120’x35’ covered mill area, a brand new kiln and a firewood saw/splitter machine leveraging $200,000 from a Rural Dividend Grant. They were also recipients of the $10,000 2018 Robin Hood Memorial Award for Excellence for a well-structured and strong board and community support.

“Over the past two seasons (15/16, 16/17) they have provided $50,000 in educational bursaries and $208,978 to community grants which included the Lions Playground redevelopment at the Ridge and the Splash In the Past project.”

Currently the LNTCFS is doing a JCP project in partnership with the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association. The project is to build a 20 stall barn on the fairgrounds in Barriere by utilizing harvested wood from the Community Forest that is then milled at the property on Gilbert Drive, and then used in the construction of the barn.

JCP program participants under LNTCFS JCP Supervisors Rick Proulx and Uli Migl are learning to process the wood into lumber, which they then use to build the barn, while learning the carpentry skills required to do so. This is an exciting project for all concerned and especially for the participants who are enjoying a great opportunity to learn a trade for future employment opportunities.

The Mission Statement of the LNTCFS is: To establish local control of dedicated forest resources for the long-term sustainability of the five participating communities. To secure for these communities an opportunity to be more self-determined. To engender economic stability in these communities. To practice and model exemplary stewardship of the local forest environment.

The operations of the Community Forest are managed by the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society. Residents from the Lower North Thompson Valley (Little Fort to McLure) can purchase a membership and nominate representatives to sit on the Board of Directors. Board positions are voluntary only. The Board of Directors hire and oversee professional management staff that are responsible for day to day management operations.

For more information about the LNTCFS go to: https://lntcfs.org or call: 250-672-1941.

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The barn under construction at the North Thompson Fall Fairgrounds in Barriere where wood milled by participants in the LNTCFS JCP program who then utilize the milled wood (except for the trusses) to build the structure. Jill Hayward photo

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