Interfor (TSX:IFP.A) and the Skeetchestn Indian Band signed an Impact Benefits Agreement on Dec. 16 that will help to build a unique relationship and yield wide-ranging benefits for both parties in British Columbia’s southern interior.
“This agreement is tailored to meet specific interests identified by the Skeetchestn and by Interfor,” said Larry Price, Woodlands Manager for Interfor’s Adams Lake Division. “Through this open, respectful relationship, Interfor can do more to build value for the Skeetchestn community economically and culturally, and enhance our access to existing and new timber tenures.”
The Skeetchestn Indian Band is a member of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation. It has reserve lands located on the north side of the Thompson River west of Savona and running up the valley of the Deadman River.
“This is a huge step forward,” said Skeetchestn Chief Ron Ignace. “Interfor is the first licensee to negotiate an agreement with us that addresses the things that matter most to our people, such as cultural heritage, cultural resource values and capacity building.”
Under the agreement, Interfor’s forest management activities will exceed legal requirements on its tenures within the Skeetchestn traditional territory, which runs from Logan Lake in the south to Green Lake in the north, to support values important to the band. For example, Interfor will employ the band to complete a field review of resources with cultural, medicinal or spiritual significance, and it will create additional riparian buffers to protect cultural resource values such as botanical communities, potential archaeological sites, wildlife and fisheries habitat as well as biodiversity.