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Gitsxan Forest Licence in northwestern B.C. did not meet all reforestation requirements


April 27, 2022
By Forest Practices Board

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An audit of Gitxsan Forest Licence Inc. (GFLI) in the Skeena Stikine Natural Resource District found that the company met all requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act for planning and timber harvesting, as well as road construction and maintenance activities. However, GFLI did not meet reforestation requirements on a number of cutblocks that were harvested in 2004 and earlier by a previous owner of the forest licence.

“Successfully reforesting harvested sites is a pillar of B.C.’s system of forest practices,” said Kevin Kriese, chair, Forest Practices Board. “Forestry licensees are required by law to achieve free-growing forests within a specified period and meeting this requirement is essential to maintain public confidence in B.C.’s forest management.

“GFLI took over this tenure three years ago, and that transfer included the legal and financial obligation to achieve free growing on sites harvested by previous owners of the forest licence,” Kriese said. “Auditors found six of 10 cutblocks where free growing was not achieved by the required dates. GFLI has initiated discussions with the government to address the condition of these sites.”

The audit examined all forestry activities carried out on forest licence A16831 between October 2019 and October 2021. This included harvesting of 29 cutblocks, construction of 43.7 kilometres of road and maintenance of almost 900 kilometres of road, as well as reforestation and wildfire prevention activities.

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The forest licence is located in northwestern B.C., north of Smithers, and includes the communities of Hazelton and New Hazelton. It falls within the territories of the Gitxsan, Gitanyow, Kitselas, Lake Babine, Skii km Lax Ha and Wet’suwet’en Nations and the Nisga’a Treaty Nass Wildlife Area.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.