Appeals: Decision Not to Appeal Amendments to Okanagan-Columbia FSP
The Forest Practices Board has made the decision not to appeal a district manager’s approval of amendments to BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) Okanagan-Columbia Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) #771.
A member of the public requested that the Board appeal the Okanagan Shuswap District Manager’s decision to the Forest Appeals Commission. The Board has the authority under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) to appeal certain government decisions to the Commission, including the approval of amendments to an FSP. The FSP amendments relate to a 1996 order establishing the Rose Swanson Mountain area as a sensitive area and setting objectives for its management (the Order).
Following a thorough review of BCTS’s results and strategies in the FSP, the Board concluded that they represent a reasonable balance between timber harvesting and preserving recreational activities and values in the area. A summary of the Board’s analysis is available here in an open letter addressing the request to appeal.
When deciding whether to appeal a government decision or not, the Board considers the merits of an appeal and the public interest. Here, the Board’s decision not to file an appeal is based on its conclusion that there is not enough merit to an appeal. The Board’s analysis indicates that the Commission would likely conclude that the results and strategies in the FSP are consistent with the objectives in the Order to the extent required under FRPA.
The request for the Board to appeal the district manager’s decision confirmed that the local community has a significant interest in the future of the Rose Swanson Mountain area, with many people opposed to any timber harvesting there. Thousands of people use the area each year for a range of activities including hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, summer and winter motorized sports, snowshoeing, wildlife viewing and others. In 1996, the government and local stakeholders prepared a management plan setting out a management strategy for the area. The management plan expired in 2006 without a replacement. The Board encourages the government to prepare a new management plan that reflects the public’s current perspective and thinks doing so could be an effective way of addressing public concerns.