Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith has recognized Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc. for its 25th anniversary.
“Westwind’s success in forest management has been vital to the continued growth of the local forest sector, leading to good paying jobs and economic prosperity for communities in the region,” says Smith, who is also the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
The company, led by Barry Davidson and Rob Keen, was established in 1997 to assume the Sustainable Forest License for the 363,000 hectares of Crown forests lands on the French-Severn Forest. The area includes up to Algonquin Park and the Georgian Bay.
“The success of Westwind in reaching this 25-year milestone is due to its dedicated staff, forward-thinking board of directors, committed forest management companies, resourceful silvicultural contractors, and community partners as well as having a strong relationship with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry,” says Davidson.
According to Westwind officials, the French-Severn Forest has been recognized as a “well-managed forest” by the Forest Stewardship Council since 2002 and Westwind has been identified as an “enhanced” Sustainable Forest License company. They say this is an “acknowledgment of its successes in local and Indigenous community involvement, sustainable forest management, and economic viability.”
“Westwind was established 25 years ago by Premier Mike Harris, as a unique way to manage public forests,” says Keen. “As the first Forest Stewardship Council certified public forest in North America, Westwind is a leader in socially and environmentally sound forestry while also supporting the region’s economic well-being.”