Wells Gray Community Forest was pleased to join with BC Community Forest Association in welcoming 130 delegates to the 2015 Community Forest Conference and annual general meeting earlier this month.
Representatives from community forests all over B.C. gathered in Clearwater to take part in workshops, discuss key forest policy issues, and to learn about community forestry in the North Thompson.
“The Wells Gray Community Forest board of directors and society trustees were honoured to host this annual event,” said George Brcko, manager of Wells Gray Community Forest.
“Our guests enjoyed a field trip that focused on the management of visual corridors, followed by a bagged lunch at our beautiful and quiet Dutch Lake,” he said.
Brcko added that during the conference community members highlighted the many benefits they have received from their community forest in the presence of our local MLA Terry Lake, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations John Thomson, Clearwater Mayor John Harwood and council, and fellow B.C. community forest representatives.
“A proud and rewarding moment for the Wells Gray Community Forest occurred during the night of the banquet which was held at the local ski hill,” Brcko said.
“Shelley Sim, on behalf of the Clearwater ski club, gave a powerful and inspiring speech sharing the community’s appreciation of the community forest’s support for youth programs, including soccer and equipment and funding for the high school and local ski hill.”
Topics highlighted during the conference included building effective relationships with Aboriginal peoples, setting realistic community forest harvest rates, forest worker safety, and carbon management.
One of the greatest benefits of the event was the chance for people involved in community forestry to network and learn from each other.
BCCFA president Erik Leslie expressed his gratitude to Wells Gray Community Forest for the excellent job they did as conference hosts.
“It was a well-organized and professionally staged event. The volunteerism in Clearwater is exceptional,” the association president said.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Terry Lake, Minister of Health and MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson, addressed conference delegates at the banquet held at the Clearwater ski hill. They highlighted the benefits that community forests bring to communities and government’s commitment to continue to support the community forest program across the province.