Launched in 2019, the CNCRFS legacy fund supports projects with a focus on environmental improvement, renewable natural resource education and/or outreach programs, outdoor recreation improvement, or social/environmental commitment to local communities.
The legacy fund is providing $100,000 to support the efforts of these two projects. Since its inception, the fund has provided $290,000 to organizations in northern British Columbia.
“There was a great response to the legacy fund this year,” shared Carl Pollard, CNC Research Forest Manager. “Although we wish the society could fund all proposed projects, we are very pleased to support the creative and collaborative community projects submitted by School District 91 and the Stellat’en First Nation.”
With help from the CNCRFS legacy fund, the Stellat’en First Nation will launch a multi-year project to reduce densities and increase foraging opportunities in a 40-hectare pine monoculture near the community of Fraser Lake.
The project will establish a rehabilitation plan to commercially thin the plantation and remove the slash loading from the trails to increase fire resiliency and subsequently plant forage species. The Stellat’en will consult with the community regarding culturally important plant species, collect seeds and clippings, and grow the plants in a nursery before planting in 2025.
“Increasing foraging opportunities was really important to us, but we also want to make sure those opportunities are long-lasting, and we are very excited about planting culturally significant bushes and plants” explained Douglas Casimel, manager of Toonasa Ne Keyah Stewardship Department with Stellat’en First Nation. “We’ll provide direct forage for our communities, indirect forage by increasing moose habitats, and by providing future harvesting opportunities 50-75 years from now.”
School District 91: Nechako Lakes will use the CNCRFS funding to build an educational trail system within the W.L. McLeod Wetland in Vanderhoof. The interpretive trail will have minimal impact to the natural environment by using boardwalks and viewing platforms in its design.
Viewing platforms will serve as learning stations, exploring the flora and fauna of the wetland, the historical and hydrological importance of the wetland to Saik’uz First Nation People and Nechako River, and how resources link to watershed health.
“The wetland is situated next to the Nechako River and two schools, which makes it the perfect spot for school and community-based education,” said Darren Carpenter, career and trades programs coordinator at SD91. “The trail would be accessible to K-12 students from Vanderhoof and Saik’uz First Nation, CNC students, community residents, and tourists.”
There will also be a virtual component to the trail project, creating a digital resource of the wetland that will be accessible to all students across SD91, which serves multiple Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities over 70,000 kilometres of northern B.C.
The CNCRFS legacy fund is open each year to applications from individuals, businesses, community groups, First Nations communities, government agency, as well as secondary and post-secondary schools within the communities CNC serves (Prince George, Bear Lake, McLeod Lake, Mackenzie, Quesnel, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, and Burns Lake).