New local woodlot offered

100 Mile House forestry area gets sustainable boost

Bill Hadden was a frequent visitor at the 100 Mile Community Forest at Interlakes earlier this year. He says the government's recent move to open up a new woodlot near Lac la Hache is a 'tremendous opportunity.'

Bill Hadden was a frequent visitor at the 100 Mile Community Forest at Interlakes earlier this year. He says the government's recent move to open up a new woodlot near Lac la Hache is a 'tremendous opportunity.'

The province has opened up a new woodlot licence to potentially inject almost 1,000 hectares of Crown land near Timothy Lake into the local forest industry.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) is accepting bids on a new woodlot licence in the 100 Mile House forest area that will generate new job opportunities in the region.

The woodlot licence covers approximately 968 hectares (2,391 acres) of Crown land on the south side of Timothy Lake, where the forest is predominantly Douglas fir.

100 Mile Community Forest Management Committee chair Bill Hadden says this is “very interesting” for the community and a “tremendous opportunity” for someone to take advantage of while it is available.

“It has been a number of years since we’ve had a woodlot licence advertised for the 100 Mile area.

“They are not issuing many more, this is probably going to be the last round of woodlot licenses.”

MFLNRO committed to put out more woodlot licenses about a decade ago, he adds, so is now fulfilling that in the local community.

However, the pine beetle made that a difficult promise to keep, Hadden notes.

“It was very, very difficult to come up with a land base that wasn’t heavily constrained with pine. It’s hard to let out a wood licence with dead wood on it.”

With mostly Douglas fir, it is likely a healthy forest, he explains, but it is also “100 per cent Mule Deer Winter Range,” so there will be substantial restrictions placed on the logging.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett says this new woodlot licence is a “great opportunity” for the region.

“It’s part of the government’s ongoing plan to support prosperous rural forest economies by improving access to forest tenures.

“Woodlots make a significant contribution to a healthy and diverse forest industry, improve overall forest productivity and promote local employment.”

Hadden says several woodlots have been announced around the province over the past 18 months.

“To me, it’s a very positive thing, and a lot of accolades to [MFLNRO] for actually taking the time to find an area to put a woodlot over. I’m pretty happy, actually, that they have done it.

“They’ve found a distinct parcel of land that’s within their area constraints and they’re going to put a licence on it, and that is not easy to do.”

It takes “a lot of staff time and effort” to find an area that is suitable, he adds.

Wood lot licenses are granted for areas of between 600 and 1,200 hectares (1,482-2,965 acres) of Crown land to be combined with adjacent or nearby private lands, Hadden says, to form a sustainable, regenerating forestry resource for the long term.

The deadline for submissions for this new woodlot licence is Nov. 27.

“In reality, for whoever gets it, it should be in their family – or it should be in operation – for generations to come.”

For more information, visit the website at www.for.gov.bc.ca/hth/timber-tenures/woodlots/index.htm.