Media Release, July 30 2018, via The Village of Pemberton
THE VILLAGE OF PEMBERTON & Líl̓wat Nation TO PARTNER ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A COMMUNITY FOREST
Village and Lil’wat Nation Form Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Corporation
PEMBERTON, BC – Earlier this week, Líl̓wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton signed incorporation documents for the formation of the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest Corporation.
Intended for the purposes of managing a local community forest, the Limited Partnership between Líl̓wat Nation and Village of Pemberton will seek to balance environmental, social and economic values while taking into consideration the desires of its member and neighbouring communities.
A community forest is a long-term agreement to manage Crown land that may be held by a local government, community group, First Nation or community-held corporation. Rural communities and First Nations see community forests as a tool to manage the local Crown land base, to provide benefits to the residents and help support their local economies and provide long-term employment opportunities (Province of BC, 2018). Currently there are 57 community forests within the Province.
Oversight of the Partnership and the Spel̓kúmtn (Ucwalmicws for ‘Signal Hill’) Community Forest will be undertaken by a Board of Directors. Representatives include the Líl̓wat Nation Chief, Village of Pemberton Mayor and two community members from both Líl̓wat and the Village. An Interim Board has been established that includes Council and Staff representatives from both organizations.
“We are proud to partner with the Village of Pemberton on this initiative. The Spel’kumtn Community Forest is an act of reconciliation and relationship building between our two communities,” said Chief Dean Nelson. “The project will allow us greater control and greater benefits over forestry activities surrounding our communities and plays a part in the Lil’wat Nation’s objective to control forestry throughout the Lil’wat traditional territory. In addition to this, and our partnership in the Cheakamus Community Forest, Lil’wat is also seeking an area based First Nations Woodland License of approximately 150,000ha in our territory.”
“The establishment a Community Forest with Lil’wat Nation provides enormous opportunity, including financial and environmental benefits for both communities. However, I am most proud of this opportunity to further build on our relationship with Lil’wat Nation,” said Mayor Mike Richman. “This partnership will uphold Indigenous Territory Rights while preserving culturally sensitive areas. We look forward to sharing the successes of this important endeavour, and others, that we are working on with Lil’wat Nation.”
In September, the entity plans to make application to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development for a community forest tenure in the areas surrounding Pemberton & Mount Currie. As part of the application, a Management Plan will be submitted which links community values to the management of the Community Forest, in addition to a proposed annual allowable cut and community consultation initiatives and reporting.
In the case of the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest, Timber harvesting will be undertaken while preserving and protecting cultural sites, working with local recreation groups and providing local employment and training opportunities.
As part of the Provincial requirements, annual reporting, meetings and communications will take place with respect to the Spel̓kúmtn Community Forest activity to ensure Líl̓wat and Pemberton community members are informed and engaged.
For more information on Community Forests visit:
The Village has clarified that both Mackenzie Ridge and Ipsoot trails will be in the Community Forest.
Mount Barber, Barbar South, Ogre-Owl and Rutherford Ridge trails will not be in the Community Forest, but will be in the Lil’wat First Nations Woodland License.