NACFOR held an open house to let folks know what is happening with their locally-owned forestry company.

NACFOR is forestry for us

The Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR) held its annual open house on May 28.

The Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR) held its annual open house on May 28 with the Board of Directors serving cookies and lemonade along with information on the continuing operation of the forest tenure. The board of directors was officially established in 2006 along with the probationary assignment of the NACFOR land tenure, by the Ministry of Forests and Natural Resource Operations. But many of the members of the board had been involved in this project for 10 years or more prior to the assignment of NACFOR.

The Nakusp and Area Community Forest has been, and continues to be, harvested in sections based on the prices of the various types and qualities of wood. While NACFOR’s five-year probationary community forest licence was granted in 2006, harvesting did not begin until 2009 due to low wood prices in 2006. The first area to be logged near Galena Bay was selectively harvested for cedar poles, since at that time the cedar pole product was selling at peak prices. Harvesting has continued since that time, with operations currently running in Slewiskin or MacDonald Creek. In 2011, the Ministry of Forests and Natural Resource Operations assigned a 25-year non-probationary agreement to NACFOR.

Recently in NACFOR and True North’s consultations with the community regarding future harvest areas, concerns were raised about mushroom picking. The Fosthall area is slated to be logged in late 2012 and is a well-known and used mushrooming location. Mushroom pickers were concerned that consistently highly productive pine mushroom land will be disturbed. Pine mushrooms are very popular in Japan and can provide some seasonal income for pickers.

NACFOR and True North have been working with the concerned groups to ensure the survival of the mushrooms after the forest has been harvested. Additional planning was undertaken and a compromise was made. NACFOR will cut in a strip system to provide an “edge effect” to ensure continued mushrooming in the Fosthall area.  Additionally, 20 hectares fewer will be harvested in that area.

The new mushroom cut is one of the benefits of having a community forest where additional consultations and compromises can be more than what would be expected from a private company.

It is this ‘community first’ view that Warren Leigh, Kathy Smith, and others envisioned when they began writing letters and lobbying for a community forest more than 10 years ago; the willingness of the forest tenure holder to make economic sacrifices to maintain rare and valuable habitats like the pine mushroom area in Fosthall was once a mere pipe dream.

Another difference is that profits from NACFOR foresting come back to the community. Plans are for future revenue from NACFOR’s harvest to be returned to the community of Nakusp in the form of grants as well as to the Nakusp and Area Community Foundation, which funds local projects.

The NACFOR board was represented that evening by Doug Switzer (president and member since 2007), Kathy Smith (Secretary and member since 2003), Warren Leigh (Director and member since 2000), Frank Poirier (representative for Area K, Director and member since 2009), and Tom Zeleznik (Director and member since 2003) As well, three representatives from the forest tenure management company, True North Forestry Consulting, were present to provide information and entertaining stories for visitors. Jesper Neilsen, Frances Swan, and Hugh Watt had some very interesting stories, and safety warnings, about logging roads.

Neilsen, who has been the primary party with True North responsible for the management of NACFOR, has decided to move on to new opportunities in other communities. Frances Swan will be taking over Jesper’s position at the end of July, and is looking forward to learning to fill his very big shoes.