Municipal Forest Reserve Review

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

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 by participating in opportunties presented through this process. During Round 1 (Values; Fall 2021) and Round 2 (Potential management scenarios; Spring 2022), you can share your thoughts and comments through a variety of opportunities.

This feedback will be used by the UBC Partnership Group (UBC, 3GreenTree Consulting, and Coastal Douglas Fir Conservation Partnership) to conduct a technical review and develop forest management options (scenarios). The technical

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 by participating in opportunties presented through this process. During Round 1 (Values; Fall 2021) and Round 2 (Potential management scenarios; Spring 2022), you can share your thoughts and comments through a variety of opportunities.

This feedback will be used by the UBC Partnership Group (UBC, 3GreenTree Consulting, and Coastal Douglas Fir Conservation Partnership) to conduct a technical review and develop forest management options (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.

Public engagement during COVID

At this time, all public engagement will be through virtual or online methods. The project team considers the range of technical access and comfort with citizens and works to address any barriers when possible.

Working group and stakeholder involvement

A broad range of stakeholders, along with the public, can share their thoughts on the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR).

An Engagement Working Group (EWG) 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 Municipal Forest Reserve 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 than 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 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.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Why is the forest review delayed? Do you have a revised phase 3, 4 and 5 project lifecycle? Any progress with the First Nations negotiations? Have the UBC scenarios been submitted to the Municipality?

    rfullerton asked about 1 month ago

    The UBC group is continuing their work on the forest management scenarios, including analyzing spatial data and habitat variables, in order to provide as much scientific context as possible. Their work is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, at which time the scenarios will be reviewed and prepared for public engagement as part of Round 2.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Have any studies or any reports been commissioned that show the tremendous economic impact that resident and visitor eco-tourism and recreation provides from hiking and mountain biking in intact forests. Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan have economic development studies showing the skyrocketing revenue potential and economic investment this creates. The best example is the Squamish Study showing mountain biking alone generated $4.5 million dollars of economic output https://www.mbta.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/FINAL-Squamish-EI-Study-Dec-15.pdf

    chris.istace asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question and this information. Presently North Cowichan nor the region have considered an economic impact study on the impact of outdoor recreation on the forest reserve. We are, however, monitoring the work being done by the Sea to Sky Corridor and recognize that they have done some significant work in their history and continue to do so now. If you would like to discuss further, please contact Don Stewart, Director of Parks and Recreation, at don.stewart@northcowichan.ca 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Will there be an analysis of the latest financial report by the forestry department at North Cowichan Municipal office, in order to determine that actual value of past logging activity? Analysis by some of the public has indicated a net average of approximately $115,000 annually after expenses from a gross amount of about $1 million in logging cost. If maintenance cost of logging roads etc are determined, estimates shows that costs out way benefits. Will your team do a cost benefit analysis?

    B W S asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question. 

    The referenced amount of $115,000 is the average net profit of the entire forestry program since 1987. This is the profit generated from forestry revenues less all forestry operational related expenses such as harvesting, road maintenance, silviculture, security, community services, fire protection etc. The recent statements made referencing $1 million in profit reference the net profit from harvesting, which includes the gross revenue from log sales less the harvesting cost, and does not include forestry operational related expenses. Referring to Appendix B from the 2020 Annual Forestry Report, when looking at the 5 year average when forestry was operating under normal circumstances, the 2015-2019 average is $934,859. The average gross revenue from log sales over the same 2015-2019 time frame was over $1.4 million.

    The referenced 2020 Annual Forestry Report, along with other past year reports that contain detailed break downs of forestry related costs and revenues.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Why change the original practises, which worked so spectacularly, unless you just want to turn the whole thing into a park? Currently the MFR pays for it’s upkeep, and puts monies into both general revenue, and a variety of municipal projects, community awards, and accounts for potential future potential requirements. Mike Clarke

    mfclarke asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The history of the Municipal Forest Reserve Review process is captured in a background document (see link for details). In late 2018, Council began hearing from citizens interested forestry activities within the reserve, at which time Council asked for a review of forestery operations.

Page last updated: 15 Mar 2022, 11:37 AM