Forestry is a very important sector of the economy in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD), with 10% of the workforce employed in primary Industries this is proportionately more than double the Provincial average for this sector. There are eight mills in the region and harvesting and silviculture activities are present in virtually every community in the area.


BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development

The BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (Ministry) represents the government in the forest industry. The Ministry has been focusing on diversifying the industry’s markets since 2003, and these efforts have paid off. Since 2003, wood exports to China have increased every year from $69 million to $687 million.

In April 2012, the Ministry introduced the new Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia. The strategy is focused on six different areas: a commitment to using wood first; growing trees, sequestering carbon, and ensuring that land is available from which to derive a range of forest products; creating a globally competitive, market-based operating climate; embracing innovation and diversification; supporting prosperous rural forest economies; and First Nations becoming partners in forestry.

The Ministry website provides links to a wide range of industry related government websites. Additionally, there is information for potential investors, including authorizations, licensing, permitting, contract bids, and job applications on the website.

The Ministry has divided the Province into eight natural resource sector regions and 24 smaller districts. The Thompson Nicola Regional District falls within the Thompson Okanagan Region and largely is covered by two districts; the Thompson Rivers District (Kamloops/Clearwater and surrounding lands), the , and the Cascades District (Merritt, Lillooet and surrounding lands).

These websites provide maps of the district, information about personal tree cutting, fire information and forestry road updates. For potential investors there is also district contact information, contract opportunities and a link to the Forest & Range Practices Act.

These two Districts used to be made up of the following three but the websites have not been updated, information on these areas can be found at the following sites:


Another useful resource that is provided through the Ministry is the British Columbia Geographic  Warehouse. The purpose is to provide corporations a repository for integrated land, resource and geographic data.

BC Timber Sales

BC Timber Sales (BCTS) was founded in 2003 with a mandate to provide the cost and price benchmarks for timber harvested from public land in British Columbia. Through 12 Business Areas and an operational presence in 33 locations, BC Timber Sales manages roughly 20 percent of the Provincial Crown allowable annual cut. Within the Thompson-Nicola Regional District BCTS has offices in Merritt, Kamloops and Clearwater. In its first five years, BCTS as a whole supplied more than 73 million cubic metres of timber to the market, sold 63 million cubic metres and generated $430 million in net revenue for the Province.

The BC Timber Sales’ commitment to the safety of all people affected by its operations – employees, contractors, licensees and the public – is demonstrated by the achievement of SAFE Company certification in August 2008. Starting in 2009, BC Timber Sales requires SAFE Company certification for all parties employing workers on Timber Sales Licenses or bidding on contracts with BC Timber Sales.

Sound forest management is a high priority for British Columbians and central to the BC Timber Sales mandate. BCTS is the largest tree planter in British Columbia, with 199 million tree seedlings planted in its first five years. The commitment to forest management excellence includes achieving and maintaining certification of an Environmental Management System in all Business Areas under the International Organization for Standardization and achieving Sustainable Forest Management certification over three-quarters of its operating areas.

The BCTS website provides information about their business plan and performance, and access to documents, forms and other materials for clients and program registrants.

Interior Logging Association

The Interior Logging Association (ILA) was formed in 1958 and registered under the British Columbia Societies Act. The ILA was formed to fill the need to have a common voice for interior independent logging contractors, sub-contractors, log haulers and silviculture workers. The need for a common voice on logging and forest management issues is greater now than ever before. The membership mirrors the wide economic activity associated with British Columbia's number one industry. ILA members are widely varied, some are loggers involved in harvesting, moving wood fibre products or machinery, building and maintaining logging roads; some are in the consulting field or supplying goods and services to the men and women in the logging industry. ILA members are your neighbours in communities from the Fraser Valley to the East Kootenays and north to Williams Lake. Today there are more than 500 member companies, and membership is growing all the time. The ILA is a strong and recognized voice in the forest industry representing independent loggers interests.

The Interior ILA continues to be the official voice for interior independent loggers with lobby initiatives to all levels of government and continues to respond positively to issues that effect change that could impact the logging sector.

The ILA website has more information regarding membership, upcoming events, their quarterly magazine and much more information regarding the organization.

Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association

Since 1984 the Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association (WSCA) has represented the silvicultural contracting industry to both federal and provincial governments on forest policy, industry regulation, and health and safety. The organization’s membership includes contractors whose activities include treeplanting, stand tending, wildfire fighting, site preparation and ecosystem restoration. The silvicultural industry comprises approximately 10,000 seasonal workers and generates $500 million annually in economic activity in Western Canada. In 2002 the industry planted its 5 billionth tree in British Columbia. The Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association is focused on four major themes: growing healthy, ecologically diverse forests; working for a future with a sustainable planet; building a balanced, enduring forest economy; and ensuring safe conditions for silviculture workers.

The WSCA website provides information about safety regulations, conferences, news updates, and links to industry resources.

The Federation of BC Woodlot Associations

The Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations was founded in 1988. It represents woodlot associations, individual woodlot licensees, and small private woodland owners throughout B.C.

Its membership plays an important role in rural British Columbia. Woodlot operators in the FBCWA associations contribute stability and leadership within their communities, create local employment, produce a wide variety of products from the forest, offer environmental protection, and generate additional landscape values from the pride they take in their operations.

Woodlot owners have a unique potential to produce forest products not only in great variety but of high quality. An increase in the number of actively managed private and Crown woodlots will stimulate greater innovation in forest management approaches and contribute to a diversification in the log trade benefiting the value-added wood processing sector.

Private citizens formulating their own goals in owning and managing forest land is part of the distinct nature of woodlot forestry – the key to its development and contribution to society.

Nicola Similkameen Innovative Forestry Society

The Nicola Similkameen Innovative Forestry Society (NSIFS) is comprised of nine members, six of which hold Innovative Forest Practices Agreements (IFPAs) and carry out the requirements of those agreements through the consensus of the Society.

NSIFS uses innovative forest management practices that incorporate Aboriginal knowledge and values and public involvement in order to increase the productivity of a healthy and resilient working forest. These local forests provide increased forest values, additional investment and enhanced employment opportunities while assuring environmental, economic, and social sustainability for communities in the Nicola-Similkameen region. Based on the key issues and opportunities identified, the NSIFS Board of Directors has adopted six key strategic objectives. The objectives strongly reflect the NSIFS’s vision of the future for the Merritt TSA, and will guide the development of annual business planning priorities for program investments. These updated objectives were approved by the Board of Directors:

  1. Create an innovative forest management environment

  2. Support First Nation’s communities

  3. Increase the sustainable harvest 

  4. Enhance environmental values 

  5. Strengthen forest inventories and support tools 

  6. Maintain effective community involvement 


The NSIFS believes that by developing implementation strategies to achieve the above strategic objectives, the NSIFS will meet the requirements and opportunities of the Innovative Forest Practices Agreements (IFPA).

Members of the NSIFS include:

British Columbia Community Forest Association

The British Columbia Community Forest Association (BCCFA) is a network of community-based organizations in British Columbia that are either managing community forests or striving to establish community forests.

Formed in March of 2002, the BCCFA has become a unified voice for the interests of all B.C. communities engaged in community forest management as well as those seeking to establish community forests.

The BCCFA is a membership-based organization, and count the participation of over 50 communities and organizations around the province. It is only through the dues of its members that it supports its core activities. The BCCFA identifies annual priorities for special projects and seek outside funding sources to support those activities.

There are several BCCFA Members within the TNRD:

Clinton is in the application stage of receiving a Community Forest and is applying for a tenure of 20,000m3

Logan Lake
Logan Lake currently has a tenure of 17,000 hectares or with an allowable annual cut of 20,000 m3. The Logan Lake Community Forest is a corporation that is run by a board of directors.

Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society
The Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society currently has a tenure of 8,406 hectares. It is organized as a Society with eleven directors representing five communities.

Wells Gray Community Forest
The Wells Gray Community Forest Corporation currently has a tenure with an AAC of 33,500 m³/year and essentially surrounds the District Municipality of Clearwater.

The British Columbia Community Forest Association website has much more information on the organization's activities, membership and business opportunities that are available through wood purchasing or sales.

Aspen Planers

Aspen Planers owns and operates Aspen Planer Lumber Mill in Merritt BC.
Aspen Planers Ltd. (Aspen) is an independent, family-owned business founded in 1959 by the Ghog family. Over the years, the business has grown to include an additional planer mill (formerly Weyerhaeuser Canada Ltd.) and the completion of a major upgrade to the existing breakdown facility in 2003/04 at the Merritt Mill. Future projects include an additional dry kiln and continued upgrades to various machine centers. In addition to the lumber mill, Aspen owns and operates post and rail facilities in Merritt, (Coldwater Post and Rail Ltd.) and in Princeton (MWP Cascade Post and Rail Ltd.). These post and rail facilities produce untreated round products consisting of posts, rails, grape stakes and various other products. Members of local First Nation bands comprise the majority of the workforce at the Coldwater Post and Rail plant located on the Coldwater Indian Band reserve south of Merritt.

Mego Wood Products (1989) is another Aspen owned company that holds a non-replaceable Forest License in the Princeton area and is a supplier of the logs and raw materials for the Princeton operation.

In addition to holding a replaceable Forest License, Aspen is also a joint venture partner with four First Nation Bands: Cooks Ferry; Coldwater; Nooaitch; and Siska. This consortium holds a non-replaceable Forest License under the company Qwa’eet Forest Products Ltd. First Nations people are directly involved in the harvesting, road development and planning operations of this company. Aspen works cooperatively with the Lower Nicola Band through Shulus Enterprises in the management of small scale salvage opportunities in the operating area.

See the Aspen Planers website for more information on their products, sustainability planning, their woodlands management and career opportunities.

Canadian Forest Products

Canfor owns and operates the lumber mill in Vavenby.

Canfor is one of the world's largest producers of sustainable wood building solutions, and they've built a reputation for top quality products and superior customer service. A global leader in dimension lumber, Canfor is driving demand for green building products and serving markets in every corner of the world. Canfor's North American facilities produce high-quality dimension lumber, structural panels and value-added finishing products. They are also a leading producer of wood pellets and green energy. Canfor Corporation is a majority shareholder in Canfor Pulp, which operates three pulp mills in British Columbia.

For more corporate information and for job posting please visit Canfor's website at:


Domtar owns and operated the pulp mill in Kamloops. The Kamloops mill was acquired by Domtar in 2007 and has an annual pulp production capacity of 477,000 tonnes.

Domtar operates the following business segments: Pulp and Paper, Distribution and Personal Care. Domtar had revenues of $5.6 billion in 2011, of which approximately 85% was from the Pulp and Paper segment, approximately 14% was from the Distribution segment and approximately 1% was from the Personal Care segment. Domtar produces 4.3 million metric tons of hardwood, softwood and fluff pulp at 12 of 13 mills. The majority of pulp is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products, with the balance being sold as market pulp.

Domtar is the largest integrated marketer and manufacturer of uncoated free-sheet paper in North America. They have ten pulp and paper mills (eight in the United States and two in Canada), with an annual paper production capacity of approximately 3.5 million tons of uncoated free-sheet paper. Approximately 78% of Domtar's paper production capacity is in the U.S., and the remaining 22% is located in Canada.

Visit Domtar's website for more information regarding their corporation, their pulp and paper operations and sustainability planning.

Gilbert Smith Forest Products

Gilbert Smith Forest Products Ltd. (GSFP) is a family owned and operated cedar sawmill located in Barriere, British Columbia, Canada.

With over 45 year in the cedar lumber trade and over 100 years of family history in the cedar business, GSFP has the experience and proven track record of a reliable producer of high quality products. From its operations in Barriere, B.C., GSFP produces and sells lumber, shavings, sawdust and chips. From its woodlands operations, GSFP also trades and sells whitewood and pulp logs. GSFP is situated on 28 acres of industrial property, located within the Barriere town site adjacent to Highway 5, 60 kilometers north of Kamloops and 420 kilometers north east of Vancouver. The plant includes a highly versatile sawmill and planer and produces a wide range of products as well as can complete specialty cutting programs based on a customers’ needs.

International Forest Products Ltd.

International Forest Products Limited (Interfor) owns a Sawmill at Adams Lake (East of Barriere).

Interfor is one of the Pacific Northwest's largest producers of quality wood products. The company's sawmilling operations have a combined manufacturing capacity of 1.65 billion board feet of lumber with sales to North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Visit Interfor's website for more information regarding careers, the products they offer and their corporate values.

Savona Specialty Plywood

Savona Specialty Plywood (SSP) is a plywood manufacturer in Savona, B.C.

SSP is the largest and most technologically advanced producer of overlaid MDO and HDO concrete forming panels in North America.

SSP has specialized in producing, developing and improving overlaid concrete forming plywood since 1968 when Pourform-107 was introduced to the industry. Pourform -107 was the original “High Flow” MDO and has earned its worldwide reputation as the highest quality and best performing panel in the industry.

With quality fir veneer produced by their Vaneer Plant in Lillooet, SSP is committed to producing panel products that meet customers’ expectations for quality and on time delivery.

SSP is very committed to stay abreast of technological changes in all aspects of the industry and have a dedicated and knowledgeable product development team who works closely with customers to develop products that meet their changing needs.

Stuwix Resources Ltd.

Stuwix Resources Ltd. is a local First Nations forestry company now in the second year of operation. The company was named in honor of their ancestors – the Stuwix people who lived in this region hundreds of years ago. Like these ancient people, Stuwix Resources Ltd. represents a solid foundation on which a promising future is being built for First Nations people in the area. Stuwix is the only First Nations company in the B.C. Interior to hold a replaceable forest license. That license, which was transferred from Ardew Wood Products in 2001, had as start-up AAC of 950 m3 per year; this enabled Stuwix to obtain an Innovative Forest Practices Agreement (IFPA) within the Merritt Timber Supply Area (TSA).

Stuwix Resources is one of six timber licensees in the Merritt TSA to hold an IFPA. The IFPAs give the licensees the ability to develop environmentally sustainable forest plans that advance their management of the forests in return for increased harvest levels.

Tolko Industries

Tolko Industries owns Heffley Creek Plywood and Veneer (Kamloops), Nicola Valley Lumber Mill (Merritt), Ashcroft Treating (produces railway ties switch ties and bridge timbers.).

Tolko Industries is a leading manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of forest products to customers around the world.

Founded in 1956, Tolko has grown from a small sawmill in Lavington, B.C., to become a company diversified by geography and product. Tolko manufactures lumber, unbleached kraft papers, panel products, co-products, biomass power, and a growing number of specialty wood products in it's operations across Western Canada.

This family-owned company, now with the third generation of Thorlakson leadership, maintains progressive business practices with traditional values: respect, integrity, progressiveness, open communication, and profit. Customers and business partners recognize Tolko for their reliability, flexibility, and efficiency. Fundamental to their success is a committed workforce that thrives on change, building relationships, and a drive toward excellence.

Tolko is committed to the well-being of future generations through responsible operational and environmental performance. This commitment applies to all aspects of Tolko's business. The company’s woodlands departments hold third-party certification on the forestland they sustainably manage in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Tolko strives to play an active and constructive role in the communities in which they operate and where their employees live.

Visit Tolko Industries Ltd.’s website for more information regarding their products, their sustainability management plans and any employment opportunities.

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.

West Fraser is the owner of Chasm Sawmills.

West Fraser Timber Co Ltd. is an integrated forest products company producing lumber, wood chips, fibreboard, plywood, pulp, and newsprint. Today, the company carries on its operations through subsidiary companies and joint ventures owned directly or indirectly by the company’s principal operating subsidiary West Fraser Mills.

West Fraser has 16 operations in British Columbia, 11 in Alberta, and 15 spread across Southern USA, and the majority of West Fraser’s lumber production is sold in the North American markets.

All variations of available West Fraser lumber are produced in Canadian mills except for SYP lumber, which is produced at the American sites. West Fraser produces a variety of softwood lumber products which are sold into the North American and export markets. All lumber is graded in compliance with the NLGA (National Lumber Grades Authority) and the NGR (National Grading Rules) which are accredited by the ALS (American Lumber Standard) and CLS (Canadian Lumber Standard). Each piece of lumber is grade stamped showing the grade of lumber, the dryness, the mills designated number, and the accredited agency.

West Fraser’s website provides detailed information about the company’s history, their product line, operations, and up-to-date investor information.

Career opportunities at West Fraser are found on their Jobs page.