Feasibility Study Assesses Forestry Job Creation Opportunities for Gitxsan Nation

Gitxsan Treaty Society

2012- Gitxsan are an indigenous people whose home territory comprises most of the area known by many as the Skeena Country. Gitxsan territory encompasses approximately 33,000 square kilometers of land, from the basin of the Upper Skeena River at Legate Creek to the Skeena's headwaters and its surrounding tributaries. This territory is roughly five times the size of Prince Edward Island, and encompasses six Timber Supply Areas.

In 2009, the Gitxsan Treaty Society undertook a feasibility study in order to answer some of the questions surrounding a potential sawmill acquisition and power co-generation project. Under this project, the society has been able to come to conclusions about new market opportunities for custom sawing lumber for domestic or export markets, potential chip markets, wood pellet markets, and other log markets.

"The Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs and membership have a vision of creating and capturing value from the timber resource. We have aspirations of developing an integrated project which involves sawmilling, bioenergy, and other components of the bio-economy. The feasibility study is the first initial step required to implement our envisioned bio-economy. The second step is to prepare a bankable business plan for a sawmill and bioenergy project. The potential projects will provide a forest economy and employment to the local area."

Cameron Stevens, General Manager, Gitxsan Forest Enterprises Inc.

Positive Economic Impacts in Hazelton

At the time that this study was undertaken by the Gitxsan, there were no wood processing facilities in the Nation's territory. This study has enabled the Gitxsan to actively pursue energy alternatives as well as economic diversification. The results of the study are helping to outline the future opportunities for the Gitxsan Nation, providing informed perspective on the ability for future projects to create jobs and develop the local economy in green and sustainable ways.