Jul 18, 2023
Heather Beresford
Whistler Community Forest Update

Heather is a long time Whistler resident who fell in love with this town the moment she set foot here in 1982. Her first decade in Whistler was spent working in restaurants, skiing, biking and travelling. She attended Simon Fraser University from 1992-1996 and obtained a BA Geography graduating on the Dean’s List. She followed that with a Masters in Environmental and Management from Royal Roads University in 2005.

Her life-long interest in taking meaningful action to protect the environment was channeled into her 27 year career at the RMOW starting as a Parks Technician and the last 15 years as the Environmental Stewardship Manager. She developed and delivered programs to better protect bears, western toads, ecosystems, and species at risk, as well as developing the wildfire risk reduction program, the climate action strategy, and the Cheakamus Community Forest.

Heather retired from the RMOW in October 2022 and is now the part-time Executive Director of the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF). The CCF is a partnership between the RMOW, Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation. It is managed through an Ecosystem-based Management Plan that identifies the most sensitive ecological and human use areas that should be set aside from harvesting and aims to restore, enhance and protect the resilience of the forest.

The CCF is an extremely important tool that allows the community of Whistler and its partners to make decisions locally about how to manage the forests in a changing climate within a tourism economy on unceded, traditional territories. It’s not easy or straightforward, but definitely worth the effort to get it right.