A $1.25 million grant has been provided to the Cheslatta Carrier Nation for rehabilitating tree stands that were severely damaged during the 2018 wildfires and re-establishing productive forest ecosystems.
Fire damaged trees are being removed so the wood can be used, instead of burning fibre that would be uneconomical to deliver to a processing facility.
According to a statement, the grant will help Cheslatta Forest Products cover the costs of shipping the residual fibre to a pellet plant or bio-energy facility.
The statement also said that the logging operations were planned with the needs of wildlife in mind, ensuring high value habitat areas and trees will be preserved.
Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operation and Rural Development Doug Donaldson said the funding will add jobs in the Cheslatta Carrier Nation.
“The jobs that are now underway are done by local people so it provides local employment, community owned equipment to remove the dead wood, so it’s addressing positive results on multiple levels,” he said.
Donaldson added 75% of the Cheslatta Community Forest was burned because of the wildfires in 2018.
He also said this project will help improve the community forest as well.
“By improving forest health, clearing out the dead wood, getting it ready to be replanted, it adds to the long term forest security for the Cheslatta and not just from a timber harvesting point of view but from a habitat wildlife point of view as well,” he said.
The treated areas will be reforested, primarily with spruce seedlings according to the statement by the province.
The project started in May on the south side of Francois Lake between Grassy Plains, Ootsa and Cheslatta lakes.