Community Forestry is a forest operation managed by local government, Indigenous communities, community groups, or any combination of the three. It is an approach to manage forest resources that has proven to be both ecologically sustainable and economically beneficial for its respective community.
The BC Community Forest Association is an organization acting as an advocate for the spread of this concept through various means. One such approach they take is through hosting an annual conference. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the past few years had gone without the in person conference but this year, BCCFA is happy to host an in-person conference once again. The event will serve to become both an educational and networking event for areas currently working on or are looking to establish community forests.
2022 BC Community Forest Association Conference will be held in Nakusp, from October 19 – 21. BCCFA Communications Manager Susan Mulkey said that the conference is one of the marquee events hosted by the organization.
“We typically meet annually to network, share experiences, and to learn from each other,” she described. “We bring government officials in to talk about important policy issues and programs that affect community forest.”
Mulkey explained that, much like the rest of the world, BCCFA was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting restrictions on social gatherings.
“We skipped 2020 and in 2021 we did a virtual conference,” said Mulkey. “It was tricky because it was new for us and everybody wants to just be together. Community forest people are pretty grass-roots people and the networking part is really important to them.”
The BCCFA is a non-profit society with acting as an advocate for community forestry in BC. The organization provides input on forest policy to facilitate the success of community forest initiatives and work with government to expand community forestry in B.C. Educational resources and extension services are provided by the group to support communities striving to obtain and successfully implement community forest initiatives.
“What’s really special about this year’s conference is the conference will also celebrate our organization’s 20th year anniversary,” Mulkey noted.
The organization began serving communities in B.C. in 2002. Since then, the group has served over 100 communities across the province, with each averaging about 4000 people in its population. Sixty Community Forest Agreements have also been established by the organization to date.
The conference will begin on Tuesday, October 18, with a tour of the Kalesnikoff Mass Timber Plant. Attendees will also get the opportunity to tour Nakusp and Area Community Forest’s operations, as well as attend special workshops and BCCFA’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Banquet, Awards, and Silent Auction.
“We’re so excited about it,” Mulkey exclaimed. “We look forward to be together again and seeing our friends that we missed. We’re pretty tired of Zoom meetings so it’s going to be nice seeing each other face-to-face.”
To learn more about the conference please visit: https://bccfa.ca/event/bccfa-2022-conference-and-agm/.