Local businessmen John and Dave Gregson were recognized by the province this week with a 2013 Woodlot Management Award.
The brothers, whose family owns the city's Copcan Contracting, were given the award for their "sound forestry and environmental practices and exceptional community stewardship" for their forestry practices on the 250-hectares of Crown land in Lantzville that they lease from the Crown for logging purposes.
John Gregson said they have been logging the site sustainably for the past eight years and their goal is to be able to log the lot, known as Woodlot 1475, "in perpetuity."
Woodlot licences are small, area-based tenures that combine private land with up to 800 hectares of Crown land on the Coast and 1,200 hectares in the Interior, and are managed by individuals, groups or First Nations.
Gregson said the brothers only log certain sections of the property every five years and then immediately replant the logged areas with trees to ensure a constant wood supply for the future. He said they have worked hard over the years to ensure trails through the property are maintained and the fish habitats on the land are cleaned and safeguarded.
"We weren't very popular with the neighbours when we first leased the property and began logging, but, thanks to the way we have treated the land, we've been pretty much accepted there and we haven't received one complaint since our first day of operations," Gregson said.
"Our lease is renewable every five years for the next 25 years and we hope to hand the lease of the land over to our kids one day."
The Gregsons received a $2,500 Coast Area award, along with John and Joyce Helweg of Fort St. James and Rodney Krimmer of Hagensborg, near Bella Coola.
The awards are funded by the province and administered by the province and the Federation of B.C. Woodlot Associations.
Each year, the awards recognize one woodlot licensee representing each of the Coast, South and North regions, along with an overall top performer.
"B.C.'s woodlot licence program is a unique way to give British Columbians the opportunity to manage small-scale forestry operations on Crown land," said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson.
"John and Dave are worthy recipients of this award, and exemplify the importance of incorporating public engagement and input in the successful management of their woodlot."
British Columbia has more than 860 active woodlots.
Each woodlot generates jobs in planning, harvesting, road construction and maintenance, reforestation, silviculture and small-scale timber processing.
© Copyright 2013