In step with its mission statement, the Community Forest has invested into opportunities that would benefit the residents of Kaslo and Regional District Area D since its inception. These opportunities arrived in various ways but were all targeted towards spearheading, or supporting existing local projects that addressed a wide cross-section of community organizations such as the arts, amateur sport, health and safety, education and recreation. These direct grant infusions into the local infrastructure, and Kaslo’s way of life has amounted to over $700,000 to date.
Other community benefits were realized in:
- the implementation of stream flow measurements ensuring opportunities for long-term data analysis that will provide valuable insights to the impacts of watershed disturbance (e.g. forest development, wildfire, forest pests) and climate change on water supply within the KDCFS management area.
- summer youth education and workplace training. Over the years our JVH high school students welcomed the opportunity to participate in a popular summer project provided by a Community Forest / BC Parks partnership that led them through a formal application process. Successful students formed a small work team led by a mentor. The crew received safety and equipment training after which they spent long and hard working days engaged in a combination of forestry field jobs and maintenance of our popular hiking trails and recreation areas. Needless to say, early shift was a necessity in the summer heat and most had an opportunity to work in tent camps on the more remote trails. In 2015 we participated in the Selkirk College “BladeRunner” workshop promoting awareness of job opportunities and training in the BC logging industry. Our 2016 and 2017 summer projects were solely dedicated to the Canada 150 celebrations in partnership with BC Parks and focused on the much needed rehabilitation of the historic Earl Grey Trail, a 61km rugged backcountry trail through the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy connecting the small settlement of Argenta in the West Kootenays with Invermere in the East Kootenays.
- Winter in the Forest Festival. This annual winter celebration of ours gathers the community outside every snowy February for nature walks, woodsman competition, human dogsled races, piping hot food by the bonfire, live music and more. It has gained steam over the years and has turned into a much supported and loved family event for Kaslo and surrounding areas.