Cortes Ecoforestry Society

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Cortes Ecoforestry Society

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Dates of existence

1999-2006

History

The Cortes Ecoforestry Society (CES) was incorporated in March 1999, under the following mission statement:

"To work in partnership with the Klahoose First Nation, to gain community stewardship of the working forest lands on Cortes to create perpetual ecological and economic benefits for the entire community, and to serve as a model for sustainable ecoforestry."

Preceding names for the organization include Cortes Island Forestry Committee (ca. 1988-1990), Cortes Island Forest Resource Committee (c. 1990) and Cortes Island Forest Committee (ca. 1991-1999). A draft document from October 1991 states that,

"[T]he Cortes Island Forest Committee (CIFC) was formed in 1988. The purposes of the CIFC are to develop ecologically responsible and balanced forest use of Cortes Island forests, to develop a sustainable forest-based economy, to educate ourselves and the public regarding appropriate use of Cortes Island forests, and to work towards a broad based public consensus for the use of these forests."

In July 1999 Klahoose First Nation and CES signed an unprecedented Memorandum of Understanding, stating that the two parties would work together to create a community forest that used eco-system forestry. In 1999 and 2000 the Cortes Ecoforestry Society began planning and preparing a community forest proposal. In 2003, volume was made available for small community tenures, including Woodlot Licences and Community Forest Agreements (CFAs). Klahoose supported the efforts to revitalize the community forest proposal and a small, voluntary advisory group was formed (Bruce Ellingsen, Chief Kathy Francis, Liz Richardson and Ron Wolda). To ensure the proposal was seen to be inclusive of all islanders, the proponent name was changed to the Cortes Island Community Forest advisory group. The community forest proposal stalled, and CES, which at one point had a membership of 400 residents supporting their goals, became less active.

In May of 2011, the Minister of Forests invited the Cortes Community Forest Advisory Group to apply for a Community Forest Agreement (CFA), and in September 2013 a Community Forest Agreement was issued to the Cortes Forestry General Partnership, which was established in June 2012.

The Cortes Forestry General Partnership is managed and governed equally by two partners, the Klahoose Forestry No. 2 Limited Partnership (KF2LP) and the Cortes Community Forest Co-operative. The tenure agreement lasts for 25 years and encompasses 3,869 hectares of crown land, about 35% of the island. The Klahoose Nation holds ancestral tenure over Cortes Island and is currently at stage 4 in the process of negotiating a treaty agreement with the province of British Columbia and the government of Canada.

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