On July 17, 2019, the Government of British Columbia announced that an, independent, two-person panel had been appointed as part of an Old Growth Strategic Review, to undertake public engagement on old growth and provide a report to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Garry Merkel (professional forester, natural resource expert and member of the Tahltan Nation) and Al Gorley (professional forester and former chair of the Forest Practices Board), engaged the public to hear people’s perspectives on the ecological, economic and cultural importance of old-growth trees and forests.
In addition to visiting communities, the panel provided opportunities for the public, organizations and professionals to share their thoughts on old growth in B.C. by:
- Completing an online questionnaire.
- Providing a written submission according to the Guidelines for Written Submissions.
This public engagement process concluded on Jan. 31, 2020.
Merkel and Gorley reported back to government in spring 2020 with recommendations to inform a new approach to old-growth management in British Columbia. On Sept. 11, 2020, government released the report and announced it was embarking on a new, holistic approach to protecting old growth forests.