VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C- The Government of British Columbia is allowing rural communities to increase the size of their community forest.

According to Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the changes will give rural communities additional economic and land management opportunities.

The change is as a result of amendments to the Forest Act and Community Tenures Regulation.

Donaldson made the announcement yesterday at the BC Community Forest Association Annual General Meeting in Burns Lake yesterday.

“We want to make sure we’re providing a strong economic base for rural communities,” said Donaldson.

“This change will help to give community forest operators more options to create local employment opportunities, and also benefit First Nations.”

A community forest is a long-term agreement to manage Crown land that may be held by a local government, community group, First Nation or community-held corporation.

According to the ministry, rural communities and First Nations see community forests as a tool to manage the local Crown land base, to provide benefits to the residents and help support their local economies and provide long-term employment opportunities.

There are 57 community forests in the province.

Learn More:

More information on community forests in B.C. can be found online: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/forest-tenures/timber-harvesting-rights/community-forest-agreements

BC Community Forest Association website: http://bccfa.ca