ANAHIM LAKE, B.C.: A Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) funded fibre recovery project in the Chilcotin is increasing utilization of forest fibre by 20 per cent and the number of full-time jobs by 20. The FESBC funding is enabling Ulkatcho First Nation-owned West Chilcotin Forest Products (WCFP) to bring forest fibre to market that would normally be left behind or burned as waste in cut blocks.

Over the winter and through early spring, WCFP was unable to haul the pulp logs into Bella Coola due to the severity of seasonal storms that hit the Bella Coola Valley which prevents the safe log hauling, storage and barge loading. A provincial shortage of haul trucks presented an added challenge even if there had have been a good weather window to load the log barges.

“The West Chilcotin plateau lacks the infrastructure many other areas of our province take for granted,” said Stephen James, Executive Director of WCFP. “Given the distance to markets for our forest products, enhanced utilization of our forest fibre has always been a struggle. With funding from FESBC, we can now start to do our part to fight climate change while at the same time provide much needed employment for our band members.”

Despite the current challenging state of the forestry industry, WCFP reached another production milestone. Pulp wood that was being burnt this time last year is now sitting in bundles at the reload area in Bella Coola, ready to be loaded onto a barge. This fibre will be barged to a chipper and then on to Harmac Pacific Pulp mill to be made into pulp.