Editor’s note: This story appears in our Timber Days LITE supplement in our July 6 issue, on shelves today.
By Micheal Copperthwaite
Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation General Manager
The 1992 decision made by of the citizens of Revelstoke to purchase Tree Farm Licence #56 has proven to be a wise move, that has stood the test of time, and has resulted in benefits that have exceeded expectations.
To this day, RCFC is considered one of the best examples of a community taking control of their local resources for their own benefit. It is one of the largest community owned forestry operations in the province and is repeatedly cited by B.C.’s Ministers of Forestry and others in the industry as an example of how communities can insure that local resources provide local returns.
Over the 19 years, there are retained earnings in the $3.3M range – most of which is reinvested into TFL roads and other land-based improvements.
Recently RCFC has established a post secondary scholarship at $600/year to a child of a forest industry worker, this year we were pleased to award it to Ms. Karina Foisy. Increasing the number of scholarships is an important goal of the corporation. Some $385,000 of donations has been made to various community activities, including a $100,000 donation to the building of the aquatic centre. RCFC’s $1.25 million injection of equity was key to Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation’s establishment. RCFC generates an average of $7 million of economic activity in the community every year. The majority of this activity benefits local contractors and businesses. The forest industry in Revelstoke has come a long way from the dark days of the mid 1980s when only a tiny fraction of the area cut was being processed here. Between Downie Street and Joe Kozek’s Sawmills we now process the equivalent of the entire local cut. Thanks to RCFC and the remarkable corporate citizenship and commitment of Downie and Kozek, the industry enjoys strong community support and Revelstokians are justifiably proud of the results of that 1992 decision.
Last fall we harvested a block on the Keystone Road. This gave us the opportunity to invest in upgrading the road, which has improved visibility and user safety. The Keystone Basin Trail is considered one of the most scenic rides anywhere, it is located approximately 50 kilmetres from Revelstoke on Highway 23 North — watch for the large sign. If you have never been there I recommend you check it out!
RCFC continues to certify our forest management systems to the globally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards, SFI being the largest certification body in the world. We are scheduled for a re-assessment audit this July and anticipate we will be successful once again in obtaining our certification.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our local harvesting contractors (Green Timber Logging, Schiller Contracting and Two Guys Logging) that provide excellent operational forest stewardship of our resource. I wish to congratulate Cal Marsh of Green Timber Logging on his acquisition of his Evergreen Logging Contract under TFL 56. Finally I wish to thank RCFC’s excellent staff and all the forest industry workers that help make RCFC a success. To show case our operations and some of the forest workers, we are establishing a Facebook page, so please have a look and learn more about RCFC!