Having a greater say in the management of forests was on the minds of 120 attendees at a Thunder Bay workshop in early March.
Citizens, mayors, academics, environmentalists, labour and First Nation reps from 21 communities met for a two-day workshop to discuss how local communities can gain control over decision-making on the stewardship of Northern Ontario forests.
The event was hosted by the Northern Ontario Sustainable Communities Partnership. Various speakers provided examples of different forestry model and tenure systems from across Canada.
The group is moving toward formulating an action plan and discussion paper to find ways to put sustainable forest management in the hands of individual communities.
Speakers included Susan Mulkey of the British Columbia Forest Assocation, Stephen Mitchell of Westwind Forest Stewardship and the Ministry of Natural Resources' Al Willcocks.
The Northern Ontario Sustainable Communities Partnership's mandate is to localize control of forest management to maintain environmental sustainability while recognizing Aboriginal and treaty rights. They want to direct natural resources for the economic and social well-being of the region, while ensuring there is a best and highest use for forest products.