The Clinton Community Forest recently gave grants to many local organizations, including the Clinton Recreational Youth Hockey Club. Photo: Raven Nyman.

The Clinton Community Forest recently gave grants to many local organizations, including the Clinton Recreational Youth Hockey Club. Photo: Raven Nyman.

Clinton Community Forest presentation answers questions, awards grants

More than $90,000 distributed to local organizations and the Village of Clinton.

By Raven Nyman

The Clinton and District Community Forest’s annual public meeting took place on Thursday, June 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. in Clinton’s Memorial Hall. The event was well-attended, and was catered by the Mill Girl Follies can-can troupe.

The Clinton Community Forest (CCF) organization strives to balance economic, ecological, and social concerns in a way that optimizes benefits for both the local and global economy. Community forest agreements in British Columbia are granted only to legal entities that represent community interests, as they give the holder exclusive rights to log and harvest Crown timber in a particular area.

The meeting on June 14 aimed to share information about the CCF’s 2017 activities and the impact of the Elephant Hill wildfire, as well as the CCF’s accomplishments to date, and their plans for the future. Doors opened for the event at 5:30 p.m., allowing the public to browse the various maps, photographs, and infographics on display.

There were many illuminating photographs and maps to peruse, with information related to the Community Forest and the 2017 wildfires, but the infographics and posters created by students of Mr. Carmichael’s Grade 7–12 class at David Stoddart School stood out. The students’ posters will be displayed at the museum later this month for public viewing, so be sure to view them there.

Mayor Jim Rivett welcomed those in attendance, and CCF chair Robin Fennell introduced the members of the board of directors who were present: Murray Kane, Jake McLean, Hank Hanemaayer, Wade Dyck, and Wayne Marchant. Mike Simpson, the event’s facilitator and senior regional manager of the Fraser Basin Council, reviewed the evening’s agenda and went over the night’s objectives and ground rules, requesting a respectful atmosphere from those in attendance.

The board of directors then announced the recipients of this year’s CCF funding, presenting each of the recipients with novelty cheques. This was certainly the highlight of the evening, as a number of local organizations received generous donations from the CCF that will greatly impact their operations and services in the Village. Sixty per cent of the Community Forest’s profits are returned to the Village of Clinton, and 40 per cent are donated to various community organizations. The CCF’s net cash available for distribution as of December 31, 2017 was $96,760.

The Loon Lake Volunteer Fire Department received $4,000 from the CCF; the Clinton Cattlemen’s Association received $4,500; the Village of Clinton Parade committee and the Clinton Annual Ball committee received $1,000 each; the South Cariboo Historical Museum Society received $1,000 for signage, $1,000 for events, and $4,000 for operations; the Clinton Recreational Youth Hockey club received $2,000; the Communities in Bloom committee received $500; Clinton Literacy received $3,000; Clinton’s Food Bank received $7,500; the After School Arts and Sports Initiative at DSS received $1,500; and the Clinton Snow Jockey club received $5,000. Congratulations to all!

In addition to the generous donations—a total of $36,000 was distributed—awarded to various organizations throughout the community, the CCF also presented a cheque for $58,056 to the Village of Clinton itself. Village councillors Susan Swan, David Park, and Wayne Marchant were all present for the event, and councillors Swan and Park joined Mayor Rivett in accepting the cheque from CCF director Wade Dyck. Charlie Coldwell was on hand to accept the cheque awarded to the Clinton Cattlemen’s Association, and a few of the young members of Clinton’s Recreational Youth Hockey club also dropped by to accept their cheque.

Chair Robin Fennell noted the particular challenges faced during 2017 as a result of the Elephant Hill wildfire that burned 15,166 hectares—or 24 per cent—of the Community Forest.

The CCF was unable to move forward with proposed logging and plans established prior to the wildfire; instead, their efforts turned to restoration, rehabilitation, and salvage. The organization made plans to log burnt timber, planted 7,000 fir seedlings, awarded two scholarships to graduates of DSS, and was able to donate funds to the Loon Lake Volunteer Fire Department after they lost their fire hall. Even with no logging in 2017, funds were distributed to the community, all “thanks to the directors who govern the Community Forest,” said Fennell.

General manager Steve Law, RPF (Registered Professional Forester), went over the 2017 activities, and restated the drastic change in plans that took place following the Elephant Hill wildfire. Unable to log green timber, the CCF has shifted its focus to target and salvage burnt wood. With such efforts, however, consideration has to be taken in order to mitigate the impact.

Twelve principles were thus established for timber salvage in the Community Forest. These principles include no harvesting in Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs), no harvesting in known archaeological or cultural heritage sites, no harvesting of green trees unless for safety, no salvage in hydrologically sensitive zones, and no salvage in “live stands” or low burn sensitivity areas.

In addition to the CCF’s timber salvage principles, post-wildfire management considerations—or “best management practices”—were established. These include the minimization of erosion and sedimentation; ensuring drainage management; planning salvage rehabilitation; and identifying and communicating risks to downstream values.

Both question periods were quite lively, and mediated by facilitator Mike Simpson. Fielding questions from locals, GM Steve Law was forced more than once to repeat answers to questions that had already been answered in the CCF’s slide presentations. Law noted that the CCF is “obligated to regenerate the areas we log” and advised residents that for each and every cutting permit, money is set aside for silviculture.

In response to questions about the Community Forest’s relationship with West Fraser-Chasm Sawmill, Law stated that although the Chasm Mill is “central to the Community Forest,” the CCF “is not restricted by West Fraser in any manner” and can sell wood to anyone. Law also noted that the organization is still working on a Forest Stewardship Plan.

Wade Dyck presented the Community Forest’s accomplishments to date. Notable achievements for the CCF include the purchase of more than $14,000 in fire equipment to be shared with the Clinton Volunteer Fire Department, the completion and approval of five Community Forest Policies, and a donation of 10 loads of timber to a small local post and rail manufacturer. Dyck noted the great success of the CCF and observed how wonderful it is to see “volunteers helping volunteers” in the community.

Pat Byrne, district manager for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 100 Mile House, echoed Dyck’s sentiments, and noted that Clinton “should be very proud of what the Community Forest is doing”. Byrne observed that the efforts of the CCF have been consistent with provincial wildfire recovery priorities and plans to mitigate future effects.

The recovery process will be ongoing, Byrne observed, and will include plenty of research and monitoring work. He also noted that some areas affected by the 2017 wildfires will not, and cannot, be salvaged. What can be done is being done, argues Byrne: “It’s going to take a bunch of people doing a bunch of hard work, but I see that going on here.”

In the coming weeks, the board of directors will meet to discuss the construction of a fire break and revise plans for the Clinton Community Forest. The CCF also plans to host a public “field trip” that will offer residents the opportunity to tour the Community Forest’s logging sites personally to see how things really get done. The field trip event will be advertised with specific dates in the near future.

In the meantime, residents can access additional information about the Clinton Community Forest and its operations by visiting the Village of Clinton’s website (https://village.clinton.bc.ca/) for CCF mapping, policies and procedures, meeting minutes, contact information, and more.

Do you have Clinton news? Contact Raven Nyman at ravenbrookn@hotmail.com.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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