UCLUELET – Economic and employment opportunities in the Barkley sound region are being enhanced by a new community forest agreement announced today by Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.

The Barkley community forest agreement will have an allowable annual cut of 27,000 cubic metres and an initial term of 25 years. The agreement area covers more than 6,760 hectares next to the Maggie Lake watershed.

Barkley Community Forest Limited Partnership is jointly owned by the District of Ucluelet and the Toquaht Nation.

Community forest agreements are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in, and management of, local forests. A community forest is managed by a local government, community group or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community.

“Community forests are a key component of our Forest Sector Strategy. These licences give people in rural communities across the province a way to diversify their economies and gain a strong voice in how local forests are managed and sustained,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunities that the new community forest will provide to our community. Not only does it give us a greater say in how the land in the region will be managed, but it helps us build economic and employment opportunities for young people in our community,” said Anne Mack, Chief, Toquaht Nation.

A Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia identifies community forests as a key element in supporting prosperous rural forest economies. Since 2004, Government has signed over 51 community forest agreements with a total allowable annual cut of 1.4 million cubic metres of timber a year.