community forest 

Whistler will submit a proposal to the Ministry of Forests for a Community Forest pilot project that asks for more control than the ministry may be willing to give up. The Ministry of Forests announced earlier this year that it would seek proposals for four Community Forest pilot projects, "in an attempt to test the abilities of communities and first nations to manage their local land base for a broader range of objectives." However, the range of objectives outline by the Ministry of Forests is narrower than that which Whistler has submitted in its proposal. "As we got into the process, it became apparent we would have less control than originally thought," Bill Barratt, director of parks and recreation told council Monday. Whistler was attracted to the Community Forest proposal because it seemed to present an opportunity to manage the local forest and all its competing activities, including logging, commercial backcountry operations, tourism and gravel extraction. Currently these areas are managed by different ministries or different departments within ministries and there is little communication among them — hence no over-all plan for the forest. "The original information received... from the Ministry of Forests indicated the opportunity for greater local control over land use planning in a number of traditional provincial jurisdictions," Barratt wrote in his report to council. "This was adjusted in the final RFP to the point that any revenue sharing or direct planning involvement in areas beyond the control of the Ministry of Forests was subject to negotiation with those individual ministries. AS a result, staff is proposing we submit our proposal contingent upon local participation in all areas that were outlined in the original Request for Proposal based on the uniqueness of our community and the benefits of such involvement. This would include revenue sharing on stumpage fees, commercial backcountry, campground revenue as well as charges to firewood operations, mushroom and salal harvesting and co-management of other resources where appropriate." Whistler’s proposal also includes involving Mount Currie in the management of local forests. However, Mount Currie has yet to respond to Whistler’s invitation.


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