Municipal Forest Reserve Review

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North Cowichan is reviewing its forest reserve management practices, with the intent to develop options for a future management plan.

Help shape the future of the management of the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR) by participating in opportunities presented through this process.

During Round 2 (Fall 2022), you will be asked to consider four potential forest management scenarios and help determine a preferred option. These scenarios were developed by the UBC Partnership Group (UBC, 3GreenTree Consulting) that considered input on values heard during Round 1 in Fall 2021. The scenarios reflect ecological, economic, and social criteria and indicators, and represent a spectrum of timber harvesting and carbon credit revenue options.


Attend the in-person information session
This information session will be an opportunity to listen and learn. There will be two high level presentations (the same presentation) at 3:30pm and 6:00pm of the four draft forest management scenario options, with opportunities to view display boards. Complete project information, including a Q&A tool for asking questions can be found below.

  • Wednesday, November 30, 3–7pm (presentations at 3:30 and 6pm)
    Maple Bay Fire Hall, 1230 Maple Bay Road

Join an online information session (RSVP req’d)
Learn more about the four draft forest management scenario options in these online sessions that will include a presentation and small group break-out discussions. Space is limited and RSVPs are required.

  • Tuesday, December 6, 6–8pm

  • Monday, December 12, 6–8pm
    Watch the presentation portion of the Dec. 12 online information session

Take the survey DEADLINE EXTENDED

  • An online survey is open until January 31, 2023.

  • You may also receive a phone call to participate in the representative survey being conducted by Mustel Group.


Read the Discussion Guide

  • The Round 2 Discussion Guide is an overview of the scenario options, plus relevant background information on the process.


Round 2 will include a survey, virtual information sessions, an in-person information session, plus a representative phone survey. Feedback heard during Round 2 public engagement will be presented to Council as part of a ‘what we heard’ report. The UBC Group will use the feedback to adjust the potential forest management scenarios (if necessary) and present these to Council for a decision. A detailed forest management plan will then need to be developed to support the preferred scenario.

Previous public engagement

During Round 1 (Values; Fall 2021) stakeholders and the public were invited to share their values about the MFR. Four virtual online workshops, a survey, and 19 stakeholder interviews resulted in a detailed report that outlined what people value about the MFR.

Working group and stakeholder involvement

A broad range of stakeholders, along with the public, can share their thoughts on the MFR.

An Engagement Working Group made up of North Cowichan residents from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints meet to provide important advice and input on the engagement process. A list of members as well as minutes from these meetings can be found in the Documents section of this page.

First Nation involvement

In August, 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by North Cowichan and the Quw'utsun Nation, which is comprised of Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, and Lyackson First Nation. The MOU outlines the establishment of a Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR) Working Group to share information in relationship to the stewardship and use of the MFR for the benefit of the community. The agreement signifies the commitment by both parties to continue meeting and discussing activities in the MFR.

Background of the review

In response to public interest in harvesting activities and requests for a review of forest management, Council dramatically limited harvesting in 2019 and initiated two initiatives: 1) undertaking public engagement, both deep and broad, on the future management of the MFR and 2) a technical review of forest management practices, options, and scenarios. The technical review will support the public engagement process by providing the information needed for informed public participation, and the public engagement process will inform the evaluation of the technical scenarios and options.

About the MFR

The Municipality of North Cowichan is one of the few communities in North America that owns and manages forest lands for the benefit of residents. North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve is different from community forests or tree farm licenses, as it is owned by the Municipality and not a licence granted by the Province.

  • The MFR is 5,000+ hectares (ha) and accounts for approximately 25% of the land base in North Cowichan.

  • The MFR consists of six major land holdings: Mount Prevost, Mount Sicker, Mount Tzouhalem, Stoney Hill, Mount Richards, and Maple Mountain, plus a number of smaller parcels including Grace Road, Panorama Ridge, and near Cottonwood Road behind the Fuller Lake arena.

  • Since 1946, the MFR has been owned and managed as a working forest. The current annual harvesting allowance is 20,000 cubic meters.

  • Forest management on Maple Mountain is informed by the Municipality’s Framework for Integrated Forest Resource Management for Maple Mountain (1992) that seeks to balance harvesting, recreation, and conservation for that area.

  • One of the ways that the Municipality seeks to ensure sustainability of the MFR is by replanting harvested areas at the earliest possible time with the best seedling stock available. Species that naturally occur in this area are replanted, namely Douglas-fir, western red cedar, and western white pine.

For more information

More information on the Municipal Forest Reserve and related programs such as community contributions, forestry reports, fire protection can be found at North Cowichan Forestry.

North Cowichan is reviewing its forest reserve management practices, with the intent to develop options for a future management plan.

Help shape the future of the management of the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR) by participating in opportunities presented through this process.

During Round 2 (Fall 2022), you will be asked to consider four potential forest management scenarios and help determine a preferred option. These scenarios were developed by the UBC Partnership Group (UBC, 3GreenTree Consulting) that considered input on values heard during Round 1 in Fall 2021. The scenarios reflect ecological, economic, and social criteria and indicators, and represent a spectrum of timber harvesting and carbon credit revenue options.


Attend the in-person information session
This information session will be an opportunity to listen and learn. There will be two high level presentations (the same presentation) at 3:30pm and 6:00pm of the four draft forest management scenario options, with opportunities to view display boards. Complete project information, including a Q&A tool for asking questions can be found below.

  • Wednesday, November 30, 3–7pm (presentations at 3:30 and 6pm)
    Maple Bay Fire Hall, 1230 Maple Bay Road

Join an online information session (RSVP req’d)
Learn more about the four draft forest management scenario options in these online sessions that will include a presentation and small group break-out discussions. Space is limited and RSVPs are required.

  • Tuesday, December 6, 6–8pm

  • Monday, December 12, 6–8pm
    Watch the presentation portion of the Dec. 12 online information session

Take the survey DEADLINE EXTENDED

  • An online survey is open until January 31, 2023.

  • You may also receive a phone call to participate in the representative survey being conducted by Mustel Group.


Read the Discussion Guide

  • The Round 2 Discussion Guide is an overview of the scenario options, plus relevant background information on the process.


Round 2 will include a survey, virtual information sessions, an in-person information session, plus a representative phone survey. Feedback heard during Round 2 public engagement will be presented to Council as part of a ‘what we heard’ report. The UBC Group will use the feedback to adjust the potential forest management scenarios (if necessary) and present these to Council for a decision. A detailed forest management plan will then need to be developed to support the preferred scenario.

Previous public engagement

During Round 1 (Values; Fall 2021) stakeholders and the public were invited to share their values about the MFR. Four virtual online workshops, a survey, and 19 stakeholder interviews resulted in a detailed report that outlined what people value about the MFR.

Working group and stakeholder involvement

A broad range of stakeholders, along with the public, can share their thoughts on the MFR.

An Engagement Working Group made up of North Cowichan residents from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints meet to provide important advice and input on the engagement process. A list of members as well as minutes from these meetings can be found in the Documents section of this page.

First Nation involvement

In August, 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by North Cowichan and the Quw'utsun Nation, which is comprised of Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, and Lyackson First Nation. The MOU outlines the establishment of a Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR) Working Group to share information in relationship to the stewardship and use of the MFR for the benefit of the community. The agreement signifies the commitment by both parties to continue meeting and discussing activities in the MFR.

Background of the review

In response to public interest in harvesting activities and requests for a review of forest management, Council dramatically limited harvesting in 2019 and initiated two initiatives: 1) undertaking public engagement, both deep and broad, on the future management of the MFR and 2) a technical review of forest management practices, options, and scenarios. The technical review will support the public engagement process by providing the information needed for informed public participation, and the public engagement process will inform the evaluation of the technical scenarios and options.

About the MFR

The Municipality of North Cowichan is one of the few communities in North America that owns and manages forest lands for the benefit of residents. North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve is different from community forests or tree farm licenses, as it is owned by the Municipality and not a licence granted by the Province.

  • The MFR is 5,000+ hectares (ha) and accounts for approximately 25% of the land base in North Cowichan.

  • The MFR consists of six major land holdings: Mount Prevost, Mount Sicker, Mount Tzouhalem, Stoney Hill, Mount Richards, and Maple Mountain, plus a number of smaller parcels including Grace Road, Panorama Ridge, and near Cottonwood Road behind the Fuller Lake arena.

  • Since 1946, the MFR has been owned and managed as a working forest. The current annual harvesting allowance is 20,000 cubic meters.

  • Forest management on Maple Mountain is informed by the Municipality’s Framework for Integrated Forest Resource Management for Maple Mountain (1992) that seeks to balance harvesting, recreation, and conservation for that area.

  • One of the ways that the Municipality seeks to ensure sustainability of the MFR is by replanting harvested areas at the earliest possible time with the best seedling stock available. Species that naturally occur in this area are replanted, namely Douglas-fir, western red cedar, and western white pine.

For more information

More information on the Municipal Forest Reserve and related programs such as community contributions, forestry reports, fire protection can be found at North Cowichan Forestry.

Questions and answers

Have a question about the Municipal Forest Reserve Review? Ask it here. Questions will be answered within three to four business days. 

You need to be signed in to add your question.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) What is MNC doing to help bring back the historical/cultural practices of First Nations food/rights of passage. How much is this a part of the bigger picture?

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    Any historical or cultural First Nations practices in relation to the forest would be initiated by the Quw’utsun Nation through the MOU process.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) What are the new ways of replanting in the scenarios?

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    Replanting methods were not reviewed as part of the scenario analysis work. Should replanting be part of the future management direction provided by Council, the operational details such as replanting methods will be considered as part of the Forest Management Plan development.

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    I can't find on this webpage any of the biological studies that went into informing the scenarios. Where would I find that? I'm looking for the sensitive and rare vegetation communities, wetlands, watercourses, breeding bird studies, anuran breeding studies, mammal use, etc. Also, at the Maple Bay firehall meeting the presenter said that recreational and other economic opportunities were not studied. Why not? Why was only forestry looked at as revenue for these lands?

    NicholasalohciN asked about 1 month ago

    Public available forestry related reports can be found on the North Cowichan website under Forestry Reports. The Forestry Interactive Webmap provides a wealth of data related to the forests, including the sensitive ecosystem inventory data. Use the layers feature to toggle this information along with a wide variety of other forestry related information that was used as part of the UBC Groups analysis.

    The scope of the UBC Partnership Group scenario examination did not allow for detailed analysis of revenues from multiple recreation sectors/uses. Exploring the wide variety of recreational users and the factors that could affect or influence economic opportunities under each scenario would be a difficult to undertake. Given there was little data readily available to help support the UBC Partnership Group to accurately distinguish recreation revenue among scenarios, they were all ranked the same in the analysis. 

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) I have a question regarding the cost of harvesting in the 3 scenarios that involve harvesting. Is there a breakdown of these costs? I’m particularly interested in the amount paid in wages for all work related to harvesting; cut block layout, road building (and decommissioning after harvest), harvesting, hauling, stand tending (if any). Finally, the net revenue benefit that MNC uses towards tax reduction. Is there a graph that shows the value of carbon credit over the last 10 years and projections into the future. Has a multiplier effect calculation been done? I am especially interested in wages paid but of course wages are dependent on the health of the companies that they work for.

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    The costs under each scenario are estimated based on $/m³ pricing realized from recent harvesting within the Municipal Forest Reserve. These costs do not include associated operational costs such as layout, future silviculture activities, road works etc. as it would be difficult to predict the conditions that could influence these costs without knowing specific operational details of the directed forest management direction. 

    A graph showing the simulated net revenue over the next 30 year time frame for both carbon credits and timber revenue was included in the UBC Partnership Group presentation on page 35. This graph does not include past pricing information.  

    A 2% annual increase was applied to the timber net revenue calculations and a startup cost of $175,000 including $20,000 annual maintenance cost was applied with the carbon project revenue calculations. This information is included in the UBC Partnership Group presentation on page 36.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) How much money have the tax payers lost so far from not harvesting logs ? How much money is in the reserve funds from prior harvesting. How much money has being spent for this study so far ?

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    Financial information is included as part of the Annual Forestry Report in Appendix C.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) Why is Passive Conservation rated higher for water services and visual qualities than active conservation? How does active conservation harm water or visual quality?

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    The Passive Conversation rating is slightly higher for visual quality as there is some harvesting considered in this scenario that could influence visual quality objectives. The water services rating and the overall ecological score are the same for both scenarios.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) What are the past harvesting practices and historical context that have led to the 16,500 - 17,500 harvest quota?

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    The chosen harvest amount of ~17,500 is derived from averages of past harvest volume. The model program used tends to “over harvest” during simulated runs so the target harvest volume was set lower to account for this.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) Is there any information that the rock climbing community could provide to support more accurate modelling for the recreation revenue?

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    We recognize that recreation is important to both North Cowichan residents and the people that come to visit, which is why we [UBC Group] initially considered it as one of the criteria and indicators. Exploring the wide variety of recreational users and the factors that could affect or influence each type of potential recreational use under each scenario would be a difficult to undertake. Given there was little data readily available to help support the UBC Partnership Group to accurately distinguish recreation revenue among scenarios, they were all ranked the same.

    Any newly available information could be considered as part of the forest management plan development but the scope of the UBC Partnership Group scenario analysis did not allow for detailed analysis of revenues from multiple recreation sectors/uses.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) "Water services" was climate change taken into account for these scenarios?

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    No, climate change was not taken into account given the unknown nature of how climate change may impact water services into the future. For the purposes of the analysis, water services included the total disturbed area in the Chemainus River and Bonsall Creek watersheds.

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    (question asked during December 2022 information sessions) To what depth did the scenarios (all) take into account the diversity of " Flora and Fauna" that live in these areas, as well the impact the Flora and Fauna may have on the future as it relates to health of the Forest and the economy of this?

    ConnectAdmin asked 20 days ago

    Information about the different indicators used to account for ecological criteria are included in the UBC Partnership Groups presentation as well as the Round 2 Discussion Guide

    The UBC Partnership Group have outlined the ecological indicator results on pages 37-40 as part of their presentation. On pages 46 and 47, wheel diagrams are provided to visually show the rankings/results and on page 48, there is a numerical score provided based on categorical ranking. 

Page last updated: 21 Dec 2022, 05:45 PM