The Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) Society will share details on harvesting plans for 2016 at a community open house next week.
Scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 26, the session will offer residents a chance to provide feedback on this year's harvest. Under provincial guidelines, no more than 21,000m3 of timber is permitted for harvest in the CCF each year.
The open house will also be a chance to learn more about the 27 new Old-Growth Management Areas (OGMA) established in the CCF by the province this summer. The OGMAs, which encompass 7,061 hectares, protect old-growth forest from commercial logging. However, Victoria came under fire last month for, in some cases, setting the OGMAs in areas that wouldn't have been harvested anyway.
"A lot of those OGMAs have ended up being outside of the boundaries of the CCF or on the periphery of the CCF, so in a way it means (the province) is not limiting access to the forest for logging," said Claire Ruddy, director of the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, in an October interview. "A number of them also overlap existing protection mechanisms, like wetlands, which wouldn't have been logged anyway."
Residents can also learn about further areas in the forest proposed for protection as Ecosystem-Based Management Reserves, a voluntary initiative by the CCF to protect more of the forest than is required by the province. Those areas are expected to be determined this year following discussions with various CCF stakeholders.
Discussions will touch on Special Management Zones as well, which are First Nations' cultural areas and areas identified by commercial recreation tenure holders as "particularly important" to their operations, according to the RMOW. These areas would require additional discussion with First Nations or commercial recreation operators if harvesting were to be proposed.
The Cheakamus Community Forest open house will take place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Whistler Public Library.