A First Nations woodlot that uses sheep instead of herbicides has been recognized by the BC government.
Saulteau First Nations have received the Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Woodlot Management for the North.
Operated by John Stokmans, the First Nations have held the woodlot since 1990, providing jobs and revenue for the Saulteau while keeping environmental impacts top of mind.
The woodlot has a flock of sheep, mobile pens, and two full-time shepherds to help remove unwanted vegetation.
The operation also prioritizes moose habitat management, wildlife tree retention, and support of Treaty 8 rights to hunt and trap.
“Congratulations to Saulteau First Nations. It hasn’t been an easy road for them, but they are proof of what can be accomplished with some ingenuity and determination,” said Jeff Beale, president of the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations in a news release. “I would like to thank their woodlot operator, John Stokmans, for his drive to acquire a small sawmill to enable a squared-log small home and cabin business to be operated by Saulteau First Nations members in their home community, and also for his insightful commentaries on woodlot licence and pest management plans for other woodlot operators in the area.”
The Saulteau woodlot was one of three recognized by the provincial government for innovative practices.