It’s certainly been a busy spring at the MCFC. We had the opportunity to attend numerous conferences and workshops, sharing the vision of community forestry across Nova Scotia. Some highlights were the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Forest Workshop, the Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia and of course our second AGM! The highlight of the conference season will be our participation in the British Columbia Community Forest Association (BCCFA) annual conference held in Lake Cowichan, BC. Members of the BCCFA have been very supportive of the MCFC in our inaugural year, and we are excited to share more experiences and learn from the pioneer community forests of Canada.
We will be holding our first field operations tour on Saturday June 18 from 1:30-4:00pm. The event will be held in the community forest, but participants will meet first at the Maitland Bridge Community Hall for introductions. From there, participants will follow MCFC board members to harvest sites adjacent to Highway 8 in Annapolis County.
The event is open to the public, and we encourage everyone from local woodlot owners to interested citizens to join us. This is a great opportunity to learn about the decision-making for harvesting practices on Crown Land and to see prescriptions first-hand. Also, if you’re thinking about conducting forestry operations on your own woodlot, this is a chance to see how larger machinery can work in partial harvests. Hosted by the MCFC Operations committee, we’re excited to share our experiences with the community and obtain further input for our management principles. See our website for further details and registration.
Our firewood business is growing and we’re getting ready to send the first few loads of processed wood to Keji in the next couple of weeks. Our firewood committee has worked hard to bring the pieces of this business together in a relatively short period of time, and their efforts should not go unrecognized. The business model for local sales is still in the works but we’re hoping to start marketing MCFC firewood to the public and members in late summer.
Non-Timber Forest Products
We’re in the process of putting together our first non-timber forest products license with south shore start-up, Medway Moss. Medway Moss is working with Bridgewater restoration landscaping company, Helping Nature Heal to bring moss from the MCFC into the backyards of Western Nova Scotians. All moss is ‘rescued’ from sites in the MCFC prior to harvest, and will then be transferred to its new home.
We hope that this partnership will lead to additional opportunities to expand sustainable non-timber forest product businesses within the land base. If you have a burning idea, but need some help bringing it to light, feel free to contact us.
Harvesting operations are well underway on the MCFC land base. We’ve harvested approximately 5,000 tonnes of wood in a variety of product classes to date, closely following the guidelines and principles laid out during the planning process. Like many others, the MCFC is dealing with difficult lumber markets at this time and will likely not be harvesting again until late summer. Nevertheless, we have enough firewood to meet our obligations with the park and will continue to plan operations for this fall. Those future harvest areas, now approved by the NSDNR for harvest will be posted for public comment on the NS Harvest Plans Map viewer and the MCFC website in coming weeks.
The MCFC has been an active participant in the Forestry Lab, a new forest business incubator put on by the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association (NSWOOA). Our role is to work with the core team and local private woodlot service entities to strategize and help existing contractors to build their businesses with a focus on partial harvesting.
Through the Forestry Lab and MCFC’s role in the new West Nova Private Woodlot Cooperative, we hope build our business to provide services to woodlot owners in Queens and Annapolis in late 2016.
AGM and Management Plan
Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s AGM. The day was interesting and informative, with speakers including Mike Parker, author of Woodchips and Beans and Matt Miller, Vice-President of NSWOOA. We also had our GIS consultant, Alain Belliveau provide a walk through of the MCFC in maps, generated from work completed for our management plan. A thorough update of the past year’s operations and the development of the management plan was provided by MCFC General Manager, Mary Jane Rodger. The membership was provided with the first draft version of the MCFC management plan, and discussion was raised regarding the changes the MCFC has proposed that differ from regular NS Crown Land forest operations.
With a new year in MCFC operations upon us, and the mid-term mark of the pilot phase coming up quickly, the MCFC is actively recruiting members to join one of our committees and help expand our capacity and facilitate multi-value management. There is currently an open call for new committee members on the recreation, business development, outreach, and operations committees. If you’re interested, or have questions, feel free tocontact us.
The public review period for the MCFC management plan will commence later than planned, on June 15th. The delay, due to limitations in obtaining forest projections modelling from NSDNR, will move the deadline for comments to July 15th, 2016. We will send a out a notification with a link to the draft plan to our members and post the draft to our website for the public. Don’t forgot the deadline to submit comments on the draft by-laws is May 31st.
If you have any questions, or if you missed the AGM and are looking for a more detailed update please contactMary Jane. Enjoy your last days of spring, and we hope to see you all at our field day on June 18th!