British Columbia’s forest tenure system needs a complete overhaul

If the provincial government doesn’t want to maintain the forests, it should hand off the job to local governments and First Nations

If the provincial government doesn’t want the responsibility of maintaining the province’s forests, it should hand off the job to local governments and First Nations.

District of Clearwater is writing a letter to Steve Thompson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The letter asks that the present forestry field station in Clearwater be re-established as a district office. It also will ask that the staff level here be maintained at a level adequate to service clients in the North Thompson Valley.

During last Tuesday’s town council meeting, Clearwater councilors celebrated a report that the position of a local Forest Service employee who is retiring would remain local.

That’s good news, but it isn’t good enough.

The Forest Service brings in about a half billion dollars in revenue each year to the provincial government from stumpage and so on.

It costs about the same amount to operate, or slightly more.

What’s going on? Where is that money going? Certainly not enough is being spent on the ground locally.

The present land tenure and forest management system is not working for anyone – not for the people living in forest dependent communities, not for the provincial government, and not even for the forest companies.

 

It’s time for a major overhaul.