Roderick Island, B.C.: many British Columbians may not have heard of Roderick Island located near Klemtu in the Great Bear Rainforest in the Central Coast District. Nor have they visited the area only accessible by a one hour 45-minute float plane flight from Campbell River, but a collaborative initiative is underway to both enhance the utilization of wood fibre and create more room for trees to grow.
Ironside Contracting Ltd., based out of Campbell River, operates a 42-person logging camp working on road building and logging in the Jackson Lake area where Kitasoo Forest Company (KFC), a company 100% owned by the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, and Western Forest Products (WFP) do the harvesting. Typically, low value wood has been left behind in the area because the costs of transporting it to facilities that could use it far exceeded the sale price of that wood when delivered by barge to the south coast. Now, with funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), more wood fibre is being moved out of the area for use by local pulp mills.
“We were very pleased to receive funding from FESBC,” said Tim Walley, MBA, Domestic Sales and Cedar Sales Specialist with Storey Creek Trading, the company that does the marketing, quality control, and log sales for the KFC and WFP joint venture. “This funding has meant the difference between leaving the uneconomic wood fibre in the area, spread out in small piles at roadside to allow for reforestation activities, to this new opportunity to ship these lower value logs to market. It’s a win-win project with economic benefits to the area’s First Nations people and B.C. companies.”
Overall, the amount of available wood in the area presents a challenge for harvesting as there are lower volumes of trees per hectare and the general quality of the timber is average or poor. When trees are harvested, they are trucked approximately 15 kilometers to the ocean where they are put into the water, bundled, and loaded on to a barge for shipping. The pulp and other uneconomic logs are then chipped in the south coast of B.C.
To Dave Conly, RPF, Operations Manager of FESBC, the project is assisting in the recovery of low value wood that traditionally is unable to be utilized, thus creating more opportunities for employment and for fibre to secondary manufacturing facilities such as pulp mills that would otherwise not have been possible. The project was originally approved as it meets several of FESBC purposes, in particular Improving Low Value or Damaged Forests and Recovery of Fibre. Environmentally, the project reduces wood waste which results in increased plantable spots for a healthy new forest.
“The remoteness of this area presents unique challenges for harvesting,” said Conly. “Severe weather, limited hours of daylight, and seasonal conditions can all play a role. The funding provided by FESBC means several different companies, each of whom is committed to good forest management and sustainable timber harvesting practices, are able to enhance fibre utilization and set the stage for planting the forests for our children and grandchildren. This collaboration helps create jobs, benefits both remote communities who rely on forestry and coastal pulp mills who rely on a robust fibre supply and enhances the management of our most important natural renewable resources – our forests.”
For more information or to arrange interviews:
Forest Enhancement Society of BC
firstname.lastname@example.org | 250.574.0221