We need a new vision to manage B.C.’s forests

The last time there was a broad public dialogue on forest policy in B.C. was during the Pearse Royal Commission in 1976.

Since that time, we have experienced an unprecedented mountain pine beetle epidemic, the Kelowna and Lillooet firestorms, the War of the Woods in Clayoquot Sound, and a decline in the traditional forest products sector. It is time for rural and urban communities, first nations, professionals, conservationists, recreationists and resource users to work toward a vision that will sustain B.C.’s forests as a source of wonder, pride and economic well-being for future generations.

The public owns more than 90 per cent of B.C.’s forests. These forests are an endowment that has supported generations of British Columbians, including first nations since time immemorial. During the settlement period, traditional burning practices were replaced by commercial timber harvesting. Instead of letting wildfires burn and rejuvenate the forest, the Forest Service put them out as quickly as possible.