Managing the forests: consultant seeks input

  • Mar. 11, 2013 6:00 a.m.

Longtime islands resident and forestry consultant Keith Moore was in Sandspit March 7 to ask members of the Moresby Island Management Committee for their thoughts about how the islands forests should be managed in the future. Mr. Moore told the committee he is working for the Haida Gwaii Management Council – the joint Haida-provincial group that oversees shared decision-making about natural resources – to come up with the outline for a forestry management strategy. Mr. Moore said he will be talking to many islanders over the next couple of months as he develops the strategy outline, asking them about their vision for forestry management on the islands. “Mostly, I want to listen to what you folks have to say,” he said. But some committee members expressed frustration, saying they’ve been through this kind of process before, and that nothing ever seems to change for the better. “It almost feels like a waste of time,” said Emmy O’Gorman. “I really don’t have a lot of faith this is going to go anywhere.” Evan Putterill, chair of the committee, agreed, saying the community has been through several planning processes over the years that resulted in a plan but no action. The most important forestry issue for Sandspit, he said, is creating sustainable, stable jobs. “We’ve got to get away from this logging once and then taking a break for two years kind of thing because it’s killing this community,” he said. Mr. Moore said he agreed that community stability is a key issue. It feels like Sandspit and the other communities have changed, he said, with the population falling and the workforce declining. The management strategy may be able to address these problems, he said. “I think it’s unanimous, everyone’s concerned about our economy,” he said. Mr. Moore provided a list of questions to committee members and said he would be happy to meet with them again or receive their responses by email. He will be working on the strategy outline throughout April and May, and plans to be finished by June. The Haida Gwaii Management Council is made up of two Haida representatives, two provincial representatives and a chair chosen by both. The chair is Derek Thompson; the provincial reps are Lindsay Jones and Darrell Robb; and the Haida Nation reps are Allan Davidson and Guujaaw. Guujaaw was named to the council last week for a two-year term. He replaces Trevor Russ, who’s now the vice-president of the CHN.