It is with deep sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our friend and colleague.
On March 17th, with his family at his side, Robin died after a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Darlene, sister Amanda, daughters Carla and Laurie, and grandchildren Jenna and Dylan. Robin accomplished so much in his 56 years. He was one of a kind, a true maverick.
Robin moved to Likely, BC in 1982. He soon became interested in forestry and went on to build a varied and interesting career. He owned and operated Sherwood Forest Contracting for many years, working on everything from tree spacing to riparian restoration. He was a master at accessing government programs and creating jobs for those on social assistance or employment insurance. Rob and his partner obtained Woodlot Licence 1452 near Morehead Lake in 1996 and he got involved in a second woodlot licence in 2009. Robin was active in the Cariboo Woodlot Association and Federation of BC Woodlot Associations, serving as President and a director respectively, for many years.
In the late 1990s Robin was part of a small group in Likely BC that responded to a call for proposals for a new Community Forest Pilot Program. Their homegrown model of a community forest partnership between Likely and the Xat’sull First Nation (Soda Creek) was created around Robin’s vision and a local kitchen table. And as the story goes, the power went out and in order to meet the application deadline they worked into the night by lantern light. This is just one of many stories that illustrate the passion and dedication that Robin brought to community forestry.
In 2004, Robin was elected to the BCCFA Board of Directors, and served as President for the better part of 10 years. It is an understatement to say that his leadership shaped the development of the young organization. He was collaborative, not adversarial. He believed in teamwork, and understood that having fun and building personal relationships were essential activities – as important as meeting agendas, timelines and task lists.
His vision, big heart and leadership set the tone for the BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA.) He always guided us to collaborate and to offer solutions instead of simply identifying problems. Rob was devoted to community forestry and to keeping the tenure unique, with the community at its core. He leaves a rich legacy in his community of Likely, shaped by his drive and entrepreneurial spirit.
His vision for forest management was a meaningful balance of economic, social, cultural and environmental values. He saw that you could truly have it all, and he implemented this vision in the management of the Likely Xats’ull Community Forest. Constantly innovating, taking risks and thinking outside the box, Robin was a doer. His energy was contagious, and inspired all of us working in community forestry to make things happen for the benefit of our communities.
Robin has been an inspiration for many communities in BC and across the country. He was often recruited to tell the story of the Likely Xats’ull Community Forest, an example of the amazing things that can be done to enhance social and economic opportunities in a small rural community.
One cannot acknowledge Robin without also expressing deep gratitude to his wife Darlene. Robin and Darlene were a team. She supported his ideas and joined him in the financial risks necessary to kick start projects. Together they got things done.
When Robin began his first term as BCCFA President, there were just seven community forest pilots in the province. Today there are 53 operating community forests, and more in the works. Robin’s influence on the success of this program will continue well into the future. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Robin Hood. He was an inspiration and a good friend – a big man with an even bigger heart. The world will be a very different place without him. We will take time to remember and honour Robin at our Community Forest Conference & AGM in Lake Cowichan May 26 – 28. A celebration of life is being planned for Saturday, July 30 in Likely.
– The Board and staff of the BCCFA
This research draws on interviews with 24 Community Forests