THUNDER BAY – “On behalf of the Council of Pikangikum First Nation, I want to note how the issuance of the Sustainable Forest Licence for the Whitefeather Forest is the final and most important planning milestone that will allow our people to move forward economically with a forestry opportunity. I wish to thank our Elders, the rest of the Whitefeather Forest Initiative Team, the MNR staff who have worked with us over the years, and all of our other partners for their dedication and commitment in working with us to reach this major milestone,” states Chief Dean Owen, Pikangikum First Nation.
Pikangikum First Nation Moving Forward
“Pikangikum people have been living in the Whitefeather Forest for a long time. The forest has supported us over many generations. With our Sustainable Forest Licence, we will be able to achieve economic renewal for our forest,” said Elder Gideon Peters, Whitefeather Forest Steering Group Coordinator.
Pikangikum has been issued a Sustainable Forest Licence (SFL) for the Whitefeather Forest — the only SFL granted to a First Nation community in the Far North. Through this agreement, Ontario and Pikangikum First Nation will work together to develop the forestry sector, create jobs and boost the local economy.
“We are pleased to work with Pikangikum First Nation so the community can undertake forest management activities in the Whitefeather Forest. Issuing the Sustainable Forest Licence is an important step in implementing Pikangikum’s community-based land use strategy and is a positive outcome of land use planning in the Far North. It will allow Pikangikum to influence its own economic destiny and guide forestry in the area to bring jobs and opportunity to the community,” commented David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources.
Under the terms of the licence, Whitefeather Forest Community Resource Management Authority (WFCRMA) will be responsible for implementing a Forest Management Plan, which includes strategies for harvesting and building access roads, monitoring and reporting on compliance, as well as sustainably managing area trees, plants, animal life, water, air, and soil.
- The Whitefeather Forest is an 11,749-square-kilometre area in northwestern Ontario, located approximately 80 kilometres east of the Manitoba border and 90 kilometres north of the Town of Red Lake.
- In 2006, Pikangikum First Nation and Ontario approved “Keeping the Land,” a community-based land-use strategy for the Whitefeather Forest that supports both protected areas and opportunities for economic development, including forestry.