Expansion

In 2016 the community identified expansion as a priority for the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest.

Currently one of the smallest community forests in BC, an expanded WBCF could provide more badly-needed revenue to the District of Wells, create more opportunity for local jobs and business, and broaden the community’s forest management initiatives.

Until recently there was no opportunity to expand the community forest because all foreseeable timber harvesting in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area, which includes Wells-Barkerville Community Forest, had been allocated.

In 2017 the government completed a new analysis of the available timber in the timber supply area, announced a new allowable annual cut, and began to consider how this allowable annual cut should be divided between large companies, small companies, communities and First Nations.

In November 2019 this apportionment was announced and the allowable cut allocated to communities in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area was increased from 5,000 cubic meters each year to 50,000 cubic meters of conifers and 27,000 cubic meters of deciduous trees. That was a significant increase: the previous allocation to community forest was only 5,000 cubic meters per year (all of that allocated to Wells-Barkerville Community Forest).

The increased volume of timber available to community forest provides other communities in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area with an opportunity to apply for community forest agreements but it’s also an opportunity to expand the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest.

In February the District of Wells mandated the Directors of Wells-Barkerville Community Forest Ltd. to prepare an application to expand the community forest, and the Directors had meetings in late January and again in late June with Quesnel Natural Resource District officials to discuss the expansion. The meetings were very positive and the officials say an official invitation to apply for the expansion can be expected by the end of the year.

To expand the volume of timber the community forest could harvest, the community forest would be allocated additional land. It is clear, however, that the current boundary of the community forest won’t be expanded to include additional land. That’s because timber harvesting rights on the land surrounding the existing community forest are already allocated to West Fraser and to BC Timber Sales.

The question, then, is: where could additional land for the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest be situated?

The Wells-Barkerville Community Forest Ltd Directors hoped a community meeting could address this question but the COVID 19 pandemic means that can’t happen any time soon. Instead social media will be used to solicit ides from the community and these ideas will be shared on this website and through social media.