October 21, 2009—After deferring harvesting activities for over 28 months, Tolko Industries Ltd. is proceeding with salvaging fibre from the Brown’s Creek area, west of Okanagan Lake near Vernon, BC.
Jim Baskerville, Regional Manager, Okanagan Operations, says the company voluntarily delayed activities long after provincial government approvals were in place in recognition of the area’s importance to Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB). “The impact of the mountain pine beetle epidemic and Tolko’s investment in the area make further delay irresponsible,” said Baskerville. “The longer we wait, the more mountain pine beetle impacted trees will decline without recoverable value, the higher the wildfire risk will grow, and the longer reforestation will be delayed.”
Brown’s Creek has been a focus of a land claim issue between the OKIB and provincial government. Approximately 27,000 hectares of the area lies within Tolko’s Tree Farm License 49.
“We have long and valued relationships with First Nation communities,” said Mark Tamas, Regional Okanagan Woodlands Manager. “Having discussed forest management of this particular area with the OKIB over the past ten years, I think we both understand and respect each other’s concerns and will continue to strive to work co-operatively.”
Tolko Industries Ltd. is a private, Canadian-owned forest products company based in Vernon, British Columbia with over 3,500 employees. Tolko is a major producer and marketer of lumber, veneer, plywood, oriented strand board, and kraft papers, with manufacturing operations across Western Canada. The Company’s Woodlands operations have received third-party certification of their sustainable forest management systems.
Sheri Greeno Tolko Industries Ltd Communications Advisor