Annual Community Forest Conference Attracts Capacity Crowd in Lake Cowichan

VICTORIA, BC –

Over 150 delegates attended the annual gathering of the BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA) May 26-28th in Lake Cowichan. The conference was jointly hosted by the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative (CLCFC) and Pacheedaht First Nation. Twenty two local and provincial organizations contributed as sponsors for the event which attracted a record number of delegates.

The conference was well received by those attending. One participant summed up his experience by saying, “The event demonstrated that community forests are making a strong commitment and connection to the forestry land base and economy, and returning real and tangible benefits to the communities served. They deserve the support received from Government.”

The three-day event was held in the community facilities in Lake Cowichan and included a bus tours into local forest operations with stops at special features in the area. Professional development sessions addressed technical and policy aspects of community forests and all delegates benefited from the networking opportunities and from hearing about the success factors and challenges of other community forests.

A highlight of the event was a banquet where a traditional feast was prepared by the Pacheedaht featuring local seafood. Forests Minister Steve Thomson, started the evening off with the news that an invitation to apply for a long term Community Forest Agreement has been extended to the CLCFC and the Pacheedaht who have formed a joint venture called Qul:yit. CLCFC has been operating the province’s first forest co-operative for more than 20 years under a licence that is about to expire.

Minister Thomson also announced the creation of a new $10,000 grant to be given annually to the community forest that best exemplifies the values exhibited by the late Robin Hood and the community forest program. Robin Hood was president of the BCCFA for 9 years. The announcement of this new award is recognition of the significant contribution he made to the development of community forestry in BC, and for his vision and passion for leveraging the community forest to create local and social economic opportunities.

The 2017 BCCFA Conference and AGM will be held next spring in Tumbler Ridge.

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Contact:               Susan Mulkey

BCCFA, Manager of Communication and Extension

250 353 2866

smulkey@bccfa.ca

For more information on CLCFC visit: www.cowichanlake.ca/bus/forestcoop

For more information on the BC Community Forest Association visit: www.bccfa.ca