Tourism and Forestry Tenure on Crown Land: A Time for Change

AuthorNatasha Gooch
PositionJD Candidate with a specialization in Environmental Law at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law
Natasha Gooch*
CITED: (2013) 18 Appeal 37-54
is paper examines the forestry a nd tourism industries’ use s of British Columbia’s
Crown lands, investigates the kinds of conicts that arise between forestr y and tourism
tenure holders, and identies how these problems mig ht best be remedied through the u se
of legal tools. A Forest Act1 tenure holder2 (Licens ee) is a business that holds a n approved
Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) under the Forest and Range Practices Act (“FRPA”).3 An
adventure tourism operator is an operator who provides outdoor recreation activities
such as guide services, transportation, lodging, feeding, or entertainment to visitors.4
is paper argues that industry relations would best be served by using a process that
strongly facilitate s, if not actually requires, the d irect participation of both the adventure
tourism and the forestr y industries in sha red decision-making proce sses with regard to
forest management planning. In the course of making that argument, this paper will
provide background information, consider the legislative and policy regimes involved,
identify what rig hts and responsibilities each part y has with respect to the other, exam ine
conicts bet ween Licensees and adventure tourism oper ators through the use of a specic
case study, explore strategies to add ress issues facing regulation of competi ng tenures on
Crown lands, and sur vey some of the diculties specic to British Columbia arising
from its unique legal la ndscape.
British Columbia (BC) is a province rich i n natural resources. As a resu lt, the province’s
Crown lands5 support several primar y resource sectors, including: forestry, mining,
agriculture, energ y, and more recently, adventure tourism. Extraction of timber
* Natasha Gooch is a JD Candi date with a specialization in Environme ntal Law at the University of
Victoria Faculty of Law. This p aper was originally submitted as a n independent research projec t
for the Advanced Legal Res earch and Writing class with Professor Tim Ri chards. Natasha would
like to thank Sydney Johnsen for both sp arking her interest in this subjec t area and for her help
with editing the paper. She is also gr ateful to Professor Mark Haddock fo r his comments. Finally,
she would like to extend her gr atitude to Appeal editor Glynnis Morgan fo r her invaluable help
with the nal edits.
1 Forest Act, RSBC 1996, c 157.
2 Forest Act tenure holders include those agencies that hold a major licence (e.g., forest, tree
farm, and timber licences), timber s ale licence, or community salvage li cence. Forest Range and
Practices Act, infra note 3 at s 3.
3 Forest and Range Practices Act, SBC 2002, c 69 [FRPA].
4 British Columbia, Ministry of Forests , Lands and Natural Resource Oper ations, Land Use
Operational Policy: Adventure Tourism (May 26, 2011), at 1 [MFLNRO, Adventure Tourism Policy].
5 Lands owned and managed by the provincial gove rnment.
resources, BC’s “green gold,”6 has been, and continues to be, a major driver of the
province’s economic engine. BC’s economy is also increasing ly supported by a growing
and prosperous tourism economy. is support is large ly based on the province’s ‘Super,
Natural BC™’ “reputation for unmatched scenic beauty, clean air and water, abundant
sh and wildlife, and the world-class tourism products that capitalise on these natura l
Both the forestry a nd adventure tourism sectors contribute signica ntly to the provincial
economy but the levels of those contributions have shif ted over time. It is clear that BC’s
primary resou rce economies all play an important role in the province’s future hea lth.
Figure 1 Rea l GDP of BC’s Primar y Resource Industries (1999 to 2009)8
As gures 1 a nd 2 illustrate, the Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Real GDP
Index of tourism increased between 2003 and 2009 while at the same time those
measures showed a steady decline for the forestry industry.9 e forestry industry has
faced many cha llenges in recent years, namely the we akening housing market in the US,
low timber prices, and soft wood lumber duties,10 but has regained some market share
since 2009 throug h emerging Chinese markets.11
6 Roger Haytor & Trevor J Barnes, “Troubles in the Rainfore st: British Columbia’s Forest Economy
in Transition” in Trevor J Barnes & Roger Hayter, eds, Cana dian Western Geographical Series 33:
Troubles in the Rainforest: British Columbia’s Forest Economy in Transitions (Vic toria, BC: Western
Geographical Press, 1997) 1 at 1–3.
7 Council of Tourism Associations of BC, A tourism industry strategy fo r forests (Council of Tourism
Associations: April 2007) at 6 [COTA, Strategy ]. I note that COTA is now known as the Tourism
Industry Association of BC.
8 British Columbia, Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Inn ovation, Measuring the value of tourism in
British Columbia: Trends from 1999 to 2009 (British Columbia: April 2011) at 15 [MJTI, Measuring the
9 Ibid.
10 British Columbia, Ministr y of Advanced Education and Labo ur Market Development and BC
Stats, A Guide to the BC Economy and La bour Market 2010 (British Columbia: BC Stats, 2010) at 63.
11 CBC News, “ BC lumber exports to China so ar” CBC News (17 July 2011), online: CBC>.

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