September 27, 1996 For Immediate Release
A UNBC research forest will be established near Fort St James, Forest
Minister David Zirnhelt said today.
The research forest occupies approimately 14,000 hectares of Crown land between Pinchi and Tezzeron lakes. The Ministry of Forests and the university have done considerable public consultation including a public mail-out, two briefings to the Fort St James Land and Resource Management Plan working group and two open houses. Support for the research forest is strong in the local communities, said Zirnhelt.
"The research forest will make available a working forest as a training ground for future managers and scientists in forestry and other natural resource disciplines benefitting First Nations and the community in both education and employment," said Zirnhelt. "In addtion, this special arrangement between a university and First Nations provides an opportunity to demonstrate and scientifically evaluate concepts and practices for sustainable forest management."
"The UNBC research forest will promote the concepts, methods and benefits of sustainable forest management by providing the students with a hand-on approach to learning and research," said Dean of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Fred Gilbert. "The research forest will also provide an outdoor laboratory for faculty and students in Forestry, resource recreation/tourism, environmental studies, geography and biology. It gives us an opportunity to work with the Tl'azt'en Nation whose traditional territory occupies part of the proposed research forest."
UNBC and the Tl'azt'en Nation have signed a memorandum of understanding whereby the research forest will be co-managed between the university and the Tl'azt'en.
"This co-operative venture will enable us to provide much-needed quality training and employment opportunities for the Tl'azt'en and other communities in the area," said Tl'azt'en Nation Chief Harry Pierre. "It is exciting that such a program is going to take place in our traditional land."