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Rock Creek woodlot manager wins top provincial award for second time
George Dore's ethical, innovative and insightful woodlot management style has earned him the top provincial Minister's Award of Excellence for Woodlot Management for the second time.
"It's humbling to get it a second time," said Dore, who also took home the prestigious award in 2003.
The Rock Creek resident, now 65, manages 600 hectares, or 1,500 acres in Christian Valley. He's been managing the woodlot since 1989.
"Since I was 18 I've been working in the bush, trimming, cutting, falling, and planting ... There is something in my genes. I like doing it and I like pushing innovation."
The annual award is given to woodlot licensees who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and contributed to woodlot management. There are three regional $2,500 awards given out for the Northern Interior, Southern Interior and the Coast.There is an additional award of $2,500 given to the overall provincial winner. Dore won the top Southern Interior award and the provincial award.
As the president of the Boundary Woodlot Association, Dore has not only dedicated his life to managing his woodlot in a sustainable way, but to encouraging others to do the same.
“The province’s Woodlot Licence Program continues to see the benefits of George’s willingness to share his knowledge and past experiences," said John Slater, Boundary-Similkameen MLA in a press release. Slater presented Dore with the award earlier this month. "His enthusiasm and openness to change is a leading example to other woodlot licensees of an exemplary woodlot manager.”
“George Dore exhibits the highest level of commitment and loyalty when it comes to his woodlot and other woodlots around the province," said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in a press release. "His focus on improving the use of wood waste, increasing site productivity and streamlining administration has resulted in an operation he can be very proud of.”
Dore appreciates the balance between the needs of wildlife, vegetation and humans. Between 500 and 1,500 white-tail deer overwinter on his lot. They like to nibble the needles and bark off the douglas fir and lodge pole pine saplings so Dore accomodates their needs to sustain the population, while also planting trees they don't like to eat so he continues to have trees growing on his lot.
Dore also likes to do as much of the work himself, rather than having contractors come in who don't have a relationship with the land.
"I've done most of the work myself -- fall it, limb it and skid it."
It is also a family affair. His wife helps out with the book work. Dore hopes to retire soon and hand the lot over to one of his children. Woodlot management can be intergenerational.
"It is hard to keep young people in the area and the woodlot program is awsome for that," he said.
Like agriculture, woodlot management requires access to large tracts of land that is often not affordable for the next generation.
"It's hard to get into without money. It would be great for the future of woodlots if you can break away from that scenario and help young people."
Besides money, the next generation also face a changing climate.
"Global warming means more pests. There is a bug on every tree in the woodlot now," said Dore.
There are 866 active woodlots in BC today. Woodlot licenses combine private land with up to 1,200 hectares of Crown land that can be managed by individuals, groups or First Nations.