Penticton Community Forest proposed

Penticton council voted unanimously Tuesday to support in principle an application for a community forest outside the city spearheaded by local trails groups.

Andrew Drouin of the South Okanagan Trail Alliance and Neda Joss, one of the most vocal opponents of planned logging in the Carmi trails area, was before council Tuesday seeking support for the application to the province.

“Despite our opposition to what’s going on up there, 1,700 signatures on our petition… BC Timber Sales is still moving ahead with their logging plans,” Joss said, explaining a community forest agreement would give local residents the chance to determine the fate of their forests.

A community forest puts the management of an area into the hands of a non-profit group made up of local stakeholders. There are close to 60 community forests in B.C., including one managed by the Westbank First Nation in the Central Okanagan, two outside Lumby and one in the Lower Similkameen.

Drouin says the proposed community forest would include all of the designated intensive recreation area east of the city from about the 201 Forest Service Road to the Garnet Fire Interpretive Centre, plus a bit more.

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