Members of Lake Babine Nation (LBN) will benefit from forestry skills training intended to help advance LBN’s participation in the forest sector, made possible through $110,000 in funding from the province.
This forestry training will help the nation fill roles in the newly launched, community-owned forest company Lake Babine Forestry Services Ltd. It also builds upon LBN’s woodland licence that was issued in August 2016, covering approximately 36,500 hectares and providing a timber volume of up to 74,000 cubic metres per year.
“Expanding Lake Babine Nation’s forestry activities is a top priority because forestry is the most significant economic activity in our territory and it drives the regional economy,” said LBN Chief Wilf Adam.
Chief Adam has been a strong advocate for LBN having a bigger role in forestry. Last year he said that although forestry drives the regional economy, LBN only held only four per cent of the harvesting rights in its territory.
“I have spent my life watching logging truck after logging truck drive the logs and profits out of our territory, for the benefit of others,” Chief Adam said in March 2016. “This is simply unacceptable.”
The forestry training will be available to community members from all Lake Babine communities and is expected to be delivered between April 2017 and March 2018.
“This community-based training will bring forestry-related skills and knowledge to the doorsteps of our community members, many of whom live outside of urban centres and otherwise lack access to training,” said Chief Adam.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and MLA for Nechako Lakes, said this funding and associated training are part of a broader strategy to help prepare Lake Babine Nation members to achieve and maintain good, family-supporting jobs in the natural resource sector.
An additional investment of $100,000 from the province will support development of a catalogue and inventory of existing LBN traditional ecological knowledge. This information will help support incorporation of traditional knowledge into resource management planning and promote good forest stewardship.
“The traditional ecological knowledge project will also increase Lake Babine’s participation in forestry and it will support stronger forest stewardship by B.C. and Lake Babine in our territory,” added Chief Adam.
The province has been collaborating with LBN on a new approach to reconciliation that would be implemented over a 25-year span. The proposed agreement, which was expected to be finalized last December, would also strengthen LBN’s participation in the regional forest economy.
Burns Lake Band signs agreement with B.C.
The province, the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and seven Carrier Sekani First Nations – including the Burns Lake Band – have completed an agreement that will increase the First Nations’ participation in the forest economy.
The interim pathway forward agreement sets out commitments between B.C. and Carrier Sekani First Nations to jointly improve stewardship, business and job opportunities in the forestry sector.
Joint initiatives in the agreement will seek to boost the skilled labour force and promote new partnership opportunities between Carrier Sekani and non-Carrier Sekani forestry operators, as well as providing stability and operational predictability on the land base across north-central British Columbia.
The population of the Carrier Sekani communities is more than 10,000 people living on- and off-reserve, including in Burns Lake, Takla Lake, Tachie, Fraser Lake, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Prince George and Vancouver.