Penticton group want to start own logging company to preserve Carmi area

Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen will provide a support letter for a Carmi community forest

Two trails groups are hoping by creating a non-profit logging company that fewer trees will be taken down in the Carmi area.

Neda Joss from the Carmi Recreational Trails Group and Andrew Drouin from the South Okanagan Trail Alliance were before the regional district board Thursday asking for a support letter for the formation of a Community Forest company that would include land used for Carmi recreational trails and the surrounding intensive recreation area.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board voted unanimously to provide a letter of support, which will be used in an application to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. The idea also requires buy-in from the city of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Band.

READ MORE: Proposed logging around rec trails sees public opposition

“We’re not anti-logging. There would be some selective logging involved in this,” Drouin said. “We’re looking to avoid the whole clear-cut moon scape effect and the decimation of the recreation facilities that are in place.”

B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS) announced recently the logging license for the area would be up for auction in the next year.

The board was told Community Futures is the financial backer at this point for the development of the community forrest.

Joss explained the area was logged at the turn of the last century and then in the 1970s the City of Penticton and the province put in funds to create a cross-country skiing trail network in the area, which was heavily used before the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre was developed in the late 1980s.

READ MORE: Penticton MLA takes logging petition to Victoria

“Still there is a lot of people in the community that use it. It’s local, free and available and is a popular spot to go,” she said.

Joss said the idea would be to selectively log areas to pay for the company to operate and be used to enhance the trail system with signage, outhouses, picnic tables and possibly a warming hut. She also noted work could be done through the community forest to help with wildfire mitigation.

“But, what really gets me excited about this is what can be done for the community. There is just so many possibilities for this because this is a non-profit society. Any monies made through logging would go back into the community so you could do student eco-bursaries, youth environmental stewardship programs …” she said.

She also noted jobs would be created and logs could be milled at local mills.

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