WHISTLER, B.C.: The Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF), one of 50+ community managed forests in the province, is completing a fuel-thinning wildfire risk mitigation project as part of a landscape level fuel break on the southern slopes of Whistler Mountain. The project, along both sides of the Cheakamus Lake Forest Service Road, serves as the main access point into Cheakamus Lake and Garibaldi Provincial Park. The project is funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC), the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), and all revenue generated from the sale of logs from the thinning are applied to reduce the cost of treatment. The purpose is to alter wildfire behavior by modifying forest densities and structure in this high priority, heavily used portion of the community forest to protect the south facing slopes of Whistler Mountain, the community of Whistler, and the western edge of Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Situated on more than 33,000 hectares surrounding Whistler, the CCF was established in April 2009 when the Lil’wat and Squamish First Nations and the RMOW jointly signed a 25-year tenure with the Ministry of Forests. Together, they oversee the management and operation of the forest through the Cheakamus Community Forest Society. The RMOW’s multi-year Wildfire Protection Strategy focuses on landscape level and interface treatments plus infrastructure protection and community outreach under the FireSmart initiative. “We’re adopting a multi-pronged approach and partnering with the CCF to deliver on the landscape scale fuel breaks,” said Heather Beresford, RMOW Environmental Stewardship Manager and CCF Administrator. “We believe this is what is needed to complete such a momentous task with urgency, and one all community leaders fully support in the face of our rapidly changing climate.”