At Vaagen Fibre Canada Fibre Canada, we believe in managing for multiple objectives on the landscape. Fuel mitigation, wildlife habitat improvements, cultural and historical preservation, education, timber extraction, recreation, and riparian enhancement are a few of the areas we focus on when developing a cutting permit. We consider how we can manage the land to meet the goals and expectations our communities and First Nations believe in.
Osoyoos Indian Band
We develop permits within the traditional territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB). Our strong partnership is based on shared decision-making in the planning stages, employment and training opportunities for Band members, and revenue sharing from the natural resources extracted from their unceded territory. Our relationship with the OIB is critical to the prosperity of Vaagen Fibre Canada and the long-term development of skills and job opportunities for Band members in the field of Forestry.
Community Connections and Engagement
Our connection with our local communities provides a skilled and talented labour force for our sawmill. Local contractors keep our company productive and equipment consistently running and, in the forest, they help meet all our forestry needs from logging and road building to tree planting. We don’t rely on local people; we depend on them. We conduct regular field trips with local residents to cut blocks and outline our plans and projects. Vaagen Fibre Canada foresters manage the local West Boundary Community Forest, named Community Forest of the Year by the BC Community Forest Association.
Vaagen Foresters support the West Boundary Community Forest's Outdoor Education Centre at Wilgress Lake.
The Centre offers educational opportunities to local schools and community groups, teaching them about sustainable forest management, traditional knowledge and values, Boundary Region history, and outdoor recreational activities. The Community Forest has hosted over 40 groups at the Outdoor Education Centre in the past year. Vaagen Fibre foresters are proud to support the Outdoor Education Centre by volunteering as guest presenters, and we look forward to coming out to the Centre again in Spring of 2022!
Our forests are subjected to natural infestations, just like many stands in the province of B.C. By targeting pine beetle, fir beetle, root rot and other health issues, we improve the overall well-being of our forests. Although epidemics are a natural cycle of forest life, they can be devastating to the many values and objectives we set out to meet in our management. Vaagen Fibre Canada plants a diversity of genetically strong seedlings and ensures our infant stands develop into thriving and resilient forests.
“Value-Added” does not mean “High-Value,” rather how much value can be added to the logs procured. The term value-added means the improvement of something that makes it worth more. The Vaagen Fibre Canada sawmill cuts small diameter timber, burned logs, blow down, beetle infested trees, and off-species (such as hemlock and yellow pine) to produce high quality dimensional lumber. Our high percentage of Machine Stress Rated (MSR) lumber is a result of the detailed processes and procedures we use to maximize the value of every 2 x 4. The right log to the right mill ensures every tree harvested by Vaagen Fibre Canada will produce the maximum value product.
Wildfire Risk Reduction
As summers become hotter and drier, the province of B.C. has been subjected to more and more wildfires. Most of the areas burned by wildfires are not managed and often ignored by major licencees, allowing fuels to build up to then pose a serious threat to our communities. Reducing the risk of wildfire in our wildland-urban interface (WUI) is a challenging task as we must consider adjacent private landowners, range and recreational values, and overall aesthetics in our backyards. Public collaboration and First Nations support have been critical to our successful fuel mitigation projects around Midway, Greenwood, Jewel Lake, Grand Forks, and Beaverdell. Although development and operational costs are high and sawlog volume yielded is often low, Vaagen Fibre Canada believes proper fuel mitigation protects our communities and our forests and is the right thing to do.
Vaagen Fibre Canada uses the Finnish HewSaw to produce our dimensional lumber. We produce 240,000 board feet per day on a 9-hour shift, employing over 80 hard-working employees. The HewSaw has the ability to scan and turn every log to ensure maximum utilization of our fibre. Wood chips, bark, and sawdust produced is sold to pulp mills, cogeneration facilities, and pellet plants. Ends of logs that are too flared to go through the saw are piled for firewood for the community to pick up.
We plant over 1 million seedlings each year in our cut blocks. Our foresters continually survey the plantations for density, proper spacing, survival rates, and general health. We have turned historical Not Sufficiently Restocked (NSR) land into productive forests with site prep and proper seedling selection. We carefully make decisions on seedling species and sizes based on climate change and anticipated future conditions. We believe in restoring grasslands and replacing traditional native bushes and plants in harvested blocks. Forest Management doesn’t end with the last load of logs; it truly has just begun.
Our logging and hauling contractors are vital to the success of our mill. Each contractor’s ability to adapt to a diversity of prescriptions, harvest plans, and challenging terrains is unprecedented. Communication with forestry staff and local landowners is a skill each of our contractors possess and results in successful projects and support from our communities. Without our talented and skilled contract operators, we could not be successful as we are today.