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Last month, a group of 28 people representing nearly as many recreation and tourism organizations met in West Kelowna for the Forestry in BC’s Recreation Areas Conference. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impact that current forestry practices are having on various recreational users. FMCBC President Bob St. John, PTAB Representative Andrew Drouin, and BCMC Director Ben Singleton-Polster were in attendance and submitted some highlights from the forum.

– Jeff Brown of the Apex Property Owners Association (APOA) opened the meeting with a presentation describing the forestry events that have occurred over the last three years in the Apex Intensive Recreation Area east of Penticton. Intensive logging is a concern for many property owners and recreational users in the area.

-Jeff separated participants into groups for a brainstorming activity. Each participant wrote down one concern or issue related to intensive forestry practices in their respective area. Those concerns are summarized here.

-Kyle Hilsendager, PhD, from the University of Vancouver Island presented the results of his Recreation Users Survey, which he completed earlier this year.

-Erin Loveless, Executive Director of the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC, presented an overview of forestry and tourism regulation practices at the provincial level as well as his recommended modifications to forestry regulation.

-After the formal presentations, the floor was opened for a round-table discussion. The need to develop an organized delegation to speak with the forestry industry was emphasized, and many potential avenues – including the PTAB – were discussed. A Steering Committee has been tasked with developing a mission statement and coordinating with local groups to work together on issues that affect recreational users on forestry lands. The idea of holding another conference drawing more community members and stakeholders was floated, however no concrete plans were made.

We hope to bring you more on this issue as it develops and hopefully gains momentum. If you’d like to read the notes from the conference in their unabridged form, you can find them here.