Forests are many things to many people. Trappers and hunters depend on the forests for subsistence and use them to preserve our ancestors’ way of life. For the First Nations, they are a natural and spiritual haven with deep cultural roots. For snowmobile enthusiasts, they are an endless adventure. For the owners of small cottages off the beaten path, they are oases of peace. Forests provide us with oxygen, resources, recreation, and tranquil spaces, especially when they are managed to meet all of these needs.
Canada’s forests are among the best managed in the world, as attested to by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which are independent certification bodies. Good forest management based on sustainable development helps ensure that forests are harvested responsibly and meet the needs of future generations.
At EACOM, Audrey-Ann Richard-Tremblay oversees our forestry and environmental certifications. She makes sure that our activities in both the forest and the factory meet the standards of excellence of these international organizations.
“For me, a good result means maintaining our certifications while minimizing our impact on the environment. The Val-d’Or sawmill has been operating since 1973, and we plan to keep it operational for a long time to come. Proper forest management is an investment in the future of our communities.”
Audrey-Ann is also involved in harmonizing plans with everyone who uses the forest.
“I meet with a lot of people interested in the forest and forestry operations. I attend meetings with our stakeholders to discuss operating plans, and we’re working to make sure everyone who uses forest roads can do so safely,” she explains.
Initially built to help with log harvest and transport, the forest roads become multi-purpose so that everyone can access the public forest. Whether by agreeing on winter maintenance methods and schedules while snowmobiles share the roads or maintaining several tens of kilometers of roads in the warmer seasons, we can always find a way to let everyone enjoy the forest together.
“Our goal is to have good relations with First Nations, nearby communities and all of our stakeholders. By attending regular meetings and staying on top of diverse needs, we can keep the dialogue open and be a true partner in the community.”
Originally from Val-d’Or, Audrey-Ann studied in Sherbrooke and Montreal before returning to her home town. “We really have everything we need in Abitibi. There’s no traffic, the people are kind and friendly, it offers plenty of career opportunities, and the great outdoors is right at our doorstep. The big cities have nothing on us!”