The Cheakamus Community Forest is governed by a non-profit society comprised of representatives from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Lil’wat and Squamish Nations. While Whistler is perhaps best known as North America’s premier ski resort, it is also part of the shared traditional lands of these two First Nations. These three partners share equally in the management of the forest. Each partner has representation on the Cheakamus Community Forest Society (CCF) — an independent, not-for-profit organization.
Whistler is a Coast Mountain community approximately 125 kilometres north of Vancouver. The town has a permanent population of about 10,000, plus a significant population of seasonal workers. More than 2.5 million people per year visit the four-season resort. A mayor and six-member council who are elected to three-year terms, govern the resort municipality.
The Squamish Nation is comprised of 23 “villages” throughout southwestern British Columbia, from the town of Squamish, 45 kilometres south of Whistler, down to the Burrard Inlet and west over to Gibson’s Landing. The nation’s population is just over 3,300 members, two-thirds of whom live on reserve land. The Squamish Nation is governed by 16 councilors, elected to four-year terms.
The Lil’wat Nation, also known as the Mount Currie Indian Band, is located approximately 40 kilometres north of Whistler. Currently, there are 2,007 band members registered, almost 1,350 of whom live on reserve. The band’s 12-member chief and council are elected to two-year terms.
The CCF signed a five-year agreement with Richmond Plywood to act as the operations contractor. Richmond Plywood is a Vancouver based employee-owned company that harvests wood in the Whistler area and Vancouver Island for its plywood mill. Tom Cole, Richmond Plywood’s Registered Professional Forester, is a long time resident of Whistler and understands the issues and goals of the CCF. Taking direction from the CCF Board of Directors, Richmond Plywood plans and undertakes the forest harvesting activities.
Cheakamus Community Forest Board of Directors 2013
Chief Bill Williams, Squamish Nation
Jeff Fisher, Squamish Nation
Chief Lucinda Phillips, Lil’wat Nation
Kerry Mehaffey, Lil’wat Nation
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Resort Municipality of Whistler
Duane Jackson, Resort Municipality of Whistler