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Griessel family woodlot receives minister’s award

Howie Griessel, his wife Shari and son Kevin are being recognized by the Province through the Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Woodlot Management for the Coast.

“From implementing innovative approaches that protect neighbouring stands of harvest areas from windthrow, to leadership with area woodlots on timber pricing, marketing and forest health management, the Griessels have clearly shown their excellence in woodlot management,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Howie’s focus on maximizing resources and minimizing waste from harvested areas also aligns with our Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative. Congratulations on this very deserving award.”

After completing a comprehensive risk assessment of windfall, root rot and beetle infestation with staff at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Canadian Forest Service and others, Howie implemented a new windthrow management system that protects taller trees downwind from harvest areas. The approach has resulted in a reduced need to salvage blowdown from exposed timber following storms.

Supplying their timber products to several local buyers and secondary manufacturers, the Griessel’s focus on getting the highest value from their timber and maximizing use of fibre harvested on their woodlots by using precise measurements and bucking procedures and minimizing post-harvest waste. The Griessels also make firewood available to local Union Bay residents and neighbours. They have shared their techniques for maximizing return from log manufacturing with other area woodlots.

“Howie, Shari and Kevin exemplify what it means to be good neighbours as woodlot operators,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “They’ve shown their commitment to the North Island Woodlot Association through volunteering and organizing, proactively removed danger trees to respond to local interests and concerns, and have even done little things, like logging a block on their north boundary to provide more light to a new neighbour’s residence and garden.”

The Griessels also employ good forest stewardship in managing their nearly 800-hectare, intergenerational woodlot. Of the 68 blocks harvested since the woodlot was awarded in 1991, 22 have met free-growing obligations and the rest are well on their way due to the Griessel’s proactive silviculture and efforts to plant immediately after harvest.

“The Griessel family have proven to be good stewards of both the public and private land in their woodlot tenure and quick to share their knowledge with other members of the woodlot family and larger forest sector,” said Jeff Beale, president of the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations. “I’m proud to be able to point to them as this year’s coastal example of innovation and excellence in British Columbia’s woodlot sector.”

The Province is recognizing three woodlot licensees for innovation and excellence in woodlot management. This year’s recipients are:

  • Kevco Timber Ltd. (Howie, Shari and Kevin Griessel) – coast area
  • Mountain View Silviculture Ltd. (Mark and Pauline Adamson and family) – provincial award and north area
  • Son Ranch Timber Co. (Ross Gardner Freer and family) – south area

Award winners not only receive a signed, framed certificate of recognition from the minister, but also take home $2,500 each for their area awards, with an additional $2,500 going to Mountain View Silviculture Ltd. for also being named the top performer provincially.

The recipients were presented their awards on Oct. 5, 2019, while at the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations’ 32nd and the Woodlot Product Development Council’s 22nd annual general meetings in Smithers.

The awards are funded by the Province of British Columbia and administered by the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations. Since 2010, the annual awards recognize a woodlot licensee representing each of the coast, south and north areas, along with an overall top performer. Award winners are nominated through official submissions received by the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations.

Quick Facts:

  • Woodlot licences are small, area-based tenures managed by individuals, groups or First Nations.
  • Licence holders are granted exclusive rights to manage Crown timber within the woodlot licence area but, in exchange, they must manage any private land contribution according to provincial forestry legislation such as the Forest Act, Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act.
  • While any amount of private land can be included in the woodlot licence area, the maximum amount of Crown land that can be included is 800 hectares on the Coast and 1,200 hectares in the Interior.
  • British Columbia has 855 active woodlots. Each woodlot generates jobs in planning, harvesting, road construction and maintenance, reforestation, silviculture and small-scale timber processing.
  • Woodlots generate about $200 million of rural economic activity for the province every year.

Learn More:

B.C. Woodlot Licence program:

Federation of B.C. Woodlot Associations:

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