By: The Working Forest Staff
BC GOVERNMENT NEWS — Robert (Bob) and Greg Sahlstrom are being recognized by the Province with a 2020 Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Woodlot Management for the South area.
They are also the recipients of the overall provincial award.
“I am pleased to announce Bob and Greg Sahlstrom as the top overall provincial woodlot licence award recipients for 2020, which is well deserved after the Sahlstrom family’s 70 years of managing their woodlot license area,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “They are dedicated to maintaining a productive and diverse woodlot operation and generously share access to the property for their local community to enjoy.”
Woodlot licensees are small-scale forest managers who strive to take a hands-on approach to natural resource management. Timber is harvested in a manner consistent with principles of stewardship and sustainability. Each year, the minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development recognizes three woodlot licensees that exemplify excellence in woodlot management.
Licensees are recognized for excellence in three categories:
- Basic and Incremental Forestry;
- Sales, Marketing and Utilization; and
- Good Woodlot Citizen.
Woodlot license W0403 is in the Selkirk Natural Resource District. This woodlot has been managed by the Sahlstrom family since 1952. The woodlot business has been a part of this family for decades, as they homesteaded the area in the late 1920s.
This woodlot is in one of the most productive and diverse areas in the southern Interior, and the Sahlstroms’ management strategy is to enhance this productivity and diversity. Forest health and diversity include cedar, birch, and aspen, and managing private land containing transmission-sized cedar poles. The Sahlstroms keep road construction narrow to minimize their footprint. These roads could provide acess for firefighters if needed.
This woodlot is used for field labs by the Selkirk College School of environment and geomatics (forestry) because it is in a wildfire interface area and the woodlot has a diverse wildlife ecosystem. The Sahlstroms give back to their community by employing local harvesting and reforestation contractors and making the woodlot available for mushroom and berry pickers, snowshoers and mountain bikers.
“The long-term stewardship approach to managing their woodlot is an excellent example of innovation, diversity, high utilization standards, and contributing to the local community – all core values of B.C.’s woodlot license program,” said Jeff Beale, president, Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations. “We are proud of the Sahlstrom family’s dedication to natural resource management and their long history as good woodlot citizens.”
The Province recognizes three woodlot licensees and an overall provincial top performer for innovation and excellence in woodlot management. This year’s other two recipients are:
- Benjamin Wilson – North area; and
- British Columbia Institute of Technology – Coast area, with recognition of Jonathan Smyth, manager.
Award winners receive a signed, framed certificate of recognition from the minister. The area winners each take home $2,500, with an additional $2,500 going to the top performer in the province.
The awards are funded by the Province of British Columbia and administered by the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations. Since 2010, the annual awards have recognized a woodlot licensee representing each of the Coast, South, and North areas, along with an overall top performer. Award winners are nominated through the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations.
- Woodlot licenses are small, area-based tenures managed by individuals, partnerships, or First Nations.
- License holders are granted exclusive rights to manage Crown timber within the woodlot license area and must manage any private land contribution according to provincial forestry legislation including the Forest Act, Forest and Range Practices Act, and the Wildfire Act.
- While any amount of private land can be included in the woodlot license area, the maximum amount of Crown land attributable to a woodlot license is 800 hectares on the Coast and 1,200 hectares in the Interior.
- British Columbia has 847 issued woodlots. Each woodlot generates jobs in planning, harvesting, road construction and maintenance, reforestation, silviculture, and small-scale timber processing.
- Woodlot licenses contribute to approximately 2% of the provincial annual allowable timber harvest.