According to Chinook Community Forest General Manager Ken Nielsen, Chinook is not committed to the two year old growth deferral process, which was implemented by the province in November 2o21.
The provincial government has been receiving responses from First Nations groups across B.C. after notifications were sent out when the announcement was made. In a meeting with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako natural resource committee members in March, Luke Weyman from the Ministry of Forests indicated that the responses from First Nations have been mixed, especially in the local area.
“A lot of nations along the Highway 16 corridor have tenure of their own and have strong economic interests, and they’ve raised concern about impacts to their economic interests in responding to the deferral question, whereas other nations that are in the north may not actually have much forest industry, or old growth areas are so remote that it won’t have an immediate impact. The response to the deferral question has been varied and nuanced depending on what nation we’ve talked too,” he said during the meeting.
Nielsen had this to say about Chinook’s decision, “Chinook Community Forest was not surprised by the announcement of the old growth deferrals, however, we are disappointed on how the current government rolled the announcement out. Managing and recruiting for old growth is important to Chinook. Chinook will engage with stakeholders and community at large for managing old growth.”
If local First Nations that have overlapping timber sales licenses in polygons [areas identified for deferral of old growth] are aligned with Chinook’s non-committal response to the deferrals, then in theory the deferrals would not take place.
The province is still in the process of implementing recommendations one and six of the 14 recommendations outlined in the old growth strategic review document that was released in 2020.
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