Learning is an integral part of our business model and shapes the way we lead and interact with the community. Some of the first and most important lessons came at the start of our presence in the Burton area.
We initially encountered conflict with local residents regarding our helicopter staging area and its proximity to town. The small community had valid concerns about the way our operations would impact their daily lives and activities. It was late in the fall when the issue was brought to attention. There was little time to prepare and change locations.
While driving around looking for an alternate site, Russell happened to run into a local woodlot manager. He offered to help him out with a temporary helicopter staging location. We were trying to find a way to alleviate concerns about the helicopters and the noise they create. The following weekend, Russell met with the fellow on-site to discuss further options and the steps required for the permit.
On arrival, two other gentlemen were also there, both senior foresters with Kootenay and Arrow forest districts. Shortly after introductions and formalities were out of the way, they posed a very blunt question: “Do you have any old growth up there in Ice Creek, Russell?” Russell answered nervously and truthfully, that, yes indeed, the whole valley bottom was actually old growth.
Lines On A Map
A month or so passed, and we got a call from a local resident, concerned that they had seen a line on a map and that our area of operation was slated for logging. We started looking deeper into the information provided and we realized that what had happened was actually the opposite. Ice Creek, in its entirety, had been designated an old-growth management unit.
We are still grateful for these fundamental lessons that we learned early on: listen effectively to your community, work to understand concerns from all sides, listen to and respect your elders, and most importantly – be honest. Although not ironclad, the ecology and wildlife in Ice Creek stands a chance of being there long after we are all gone.