You may have noticed that on January 31st, the MCFC completed our pilot phase with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. As we discussed in our fall newsletter, we are anticipating building a 10-year agreement with DNR to continue to test innovative forestry businesses for Nova Scotia’s rural communities. However, due to the uncertainty surrounding forest practices on Crown land at this time negotiation will be waiting to commence negotiations following the release of recommendations from the Independent Review of Forestry Practices. We are currently operating on an automatic one-year extension given that the province has expressed interest to continue testing the model of community forestry. We hope to have additional clarification regarding our long-term agreement with NSDNR at our AGM in April.
The MCFC has been actively involved with DNR’s Independent Review of Forestry Practices, and have participated in numerous meetings and workshops over the winter as an advocate for sustainable and community-based forest management in Nova Scotia. The process has been very insightful and we have full confidence in Dr. Bill Lahey’s ability to provide recommendations that will benefit our Crown forests and markets for private woodlot owners.
Operations over the winter have focused on building a firewood supply for Kejimkujik National Park’s busy summer season. We’re working hard to provide the park with the best product possible and limit risks associated with the moving firewood, following the arrival of Nova Scotia’s newest invasive pest, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. The park’s decision to limit the movement of firewood is based on increased threats from pests in the Acadian Forest region, and following trends in firewood restrictions in National Parks across Canada. By working with the MCFC, the Park is provided with a high level of traceability and assurance that their firewood supply is local (within 15 km of the park entrance) and sustainably harvested. As the park’s supplier our pest mitigation strategy will be to only use firewood harvested on sites where hemlock isn’t present. Although HWA hasn’t been found in the MCFC or Keji, we will be continuing an active monitoring program on spruce/hemlock dominated sites.
The past two years we’ve been working with Keji have been a huge undertaking for the MCFC and we appreciate our customers’ patience as we figure out the intricacies of the firewood business. We hope our partnership with the park will continue to grow in the future and in anticipation, we are researching new drying alternatives that will ensure we provide the best product possible to campers. Although there will be a considerable increase in demand for firewood to the park this year, we also hope to have some wood available for public purchase in the fall.
This coming Tuesday, March 20th, we will be holding a public open house for the Four Mile Stillwater Trail proposal as a component of Nova Scotia Department of Environment’s trail development process. During this event, we will be asking for public feedback on our trail proposal and adjusting the trail project as necessary. We would love to have you join us with your questions and comments, however, if you can’t join us in person we will also be circulating an online survey and posting our trail proposal to our website (find it here). The meeting will be held at the North Queens Business Hub in Caledonia from 6-8pm.
Looking forward to events in 2018, we will be hosting a series of workshops including a wild food foray with East Coast Wildfoods at the Mersey River Chalets in June and September, a forest poetry writing session in July or August (TBD), and an ‘Introduction to Backcountry Camping’ workshop with Whynot Adventures in September. Stay posted to our Facebook page for details regarding these events. As a newsletter subscriber, you’ll also receive updates via email.
We have confirmed our AGM, which will be held at a new location, the Maitland Bridge Hall, on Saturday, April 28th from 10-3. Our outgoing Chair, Will Martin will be providing a keynote address and Dale Prest of the Climate Forest Company will be providing a guest talk on forest carbon sequestration and market development for private woodlot owners. As usual, our General Manager, Mary Jane Rodger will be presenting our annual report and operations update and we also hope to have a representative from the provincial government speak on the future of community forestry in Nova Scotia. We will be circulating biographies for our new board nominees to members towards the end of March. If you are interested in attending our AGM, pre-registration is preferred and can be done by replying to this email, non-members are always welcome!
Changes to the MCFC Executive
Our long-serving Chair, William Martin will be stepping down from his post following this year’s AGM. Will has served as Chair of the MCFC since the concept was first proposed and served as the interim Chair prior to the MCFC signing our agreement with DNR in 2015. Will has been invaluable to the MCFC in our inaugural years, providing leadership training and mentorship to our staff, contributing significantly to our business development and government negotiations, and building our innovative governance and management principles. Although we’re sad to see Will step down, he will remain as a Director and serve as the past-Chair. The position of Chair will be passed onto our current Vice-Chair, Katie McLean. Katie has been on the MCFC Board of Directors since 2015 and has occupied various positions on the Executive including Secretary and most recently as Vice-Chair. Katie brings a wealth of experience in public outreach, community leadership, outdoor recreation and project management to the position and we’re excited for her transition to Chair as the MCFC embarks on a new chapter in management.