The landscape around Quesnel is prime forestry land. The forest industry has been the leading economic engine in this region since the gold rush faded, but it has fiscal realities and it operates where there are environmental realities.
The provincial government is calling on the public to provide input on what should be done out on the local landscape to allow for the forest sector to operate, allow other industries to also operate, yet safeguard the environment and take other social priorities into account as well.
The government is doing a pilot project, to see how gathering such feedback and building a Forest Landscape Plan (FLP) will work. According to officials with the forests ministry, these FLPs are being co-designed with First Nations, forest licencees (the largest of which is West Fraser Timber, in the Quesnel area), subject matter experts, and the community.
“FLPs are a part of a comprehensive approach to better care for British Columbia’s forests, including improved old-growth management,” said a statement from the Ministry of Forests. “The Quesnel FLP table was initiated in 2020 and is one of four pilot projects in the province. These four pilot projects will assist in the design and function of the eight new FLPs announced by the Province in February 2023, with funding of $25-million.”
There are public meetings coming up for Quesnel and the surrounding area. Each one runs 6-8 p.m. They are scheduled for:
– May 24 in Nazko
Nazko Valley Community Centre (9560B Nazko Rd.)
– June 7 in Quesnel
Quesnel and District Senior’s Society (461 Carson Ave.)
– June 8 in Wells
Wells Community Hall (4269 Sanders Ave.)
The public is encouraged to attend and give personal insights, the thoughts of a group or association you might represent, or ask questions for your own information.
The process will be guided by five themes the provincial government would like to build into each FLP.
• prioritizes ecological and cultural values,
• creates a more resilient forest,
• reduces wildfire risk,
• supports biodiversity and wildlife habitat, and
• contributes to a competitive forestry sector that supports innovative forestry jobs.
If you want to give feedback online, that is also an option. Look it up by searching for Quesnel Forest Landscape Plan, or clicking the link in the online version of this story on the Quesnel Cariboo Observer’s website.
“The questionnaire will be open for public comment until Aug. 8, 2023, when the feedback will be considered in the development of a final report,” said the ministry’s statement. “Public responses to the report will support the creation of the FLP, which is aimed at strengthening healthy ecosystem management, including biodiversity, silviculture, visual management, water quality and wildlife habitat.”