Encouraging the incorporation of a broad range of forest values is key to achieving success in sustainable forest management. To incorporate the values of trappers, the Manitoba Model Forest (MBMF), in partnership with the Manitoba Trappers Association (MTA) and Tembec, undertook an examination of trap lines and trappers’ opinions in the Trap Line Inventory project. The MTA interviewed trappers and conducted a detailed survey of trappers’ opinions and attitudes towards forestry operations and their expectations around how forestry operations should be conducted on their trap line. The trappers identified important trap line features such as cabins, trails, cache areas and high value habitat areas, which were mapped on aerial photography using a geographic information system. Printed copies of their trap line photomap were provided back to the trapper and Tembec maintained the confidential digital inventory. The trap line inventory allowed trappers values and trap line infrastructure to be incorporated into forest planning and harvesting operations.
Through the use of literature reviews, expert advice and workshops with local trappers, the MBMF and MTA have also developed a Beneficial Management Practices handbook titled Furbearers & Forestry: An Integrated Approach . This handbook is intended to be a tool to assist all forest workers to operate using beneficial sustainable practices with consideration for trap lines and the trappers who depend upon these lines for their livelihood.
The Trapper Involvement project, with the assistance of the MTA, also provides the Manitoba Mandatory Trapper Education Course, which is required for all first time trappers. Educational workshops on trapping and fur preparation techniques are also conducted. The delivery of the Canadian Firearm Safety Course and Hunter Safety Course can be arranged based on interest from the trapping community.
Another educational tool produced by the MTA is the video “Responsible Stewardship Within the Manitoba Fur Industry”. The video highlights the stewardship role of trappers, the significance of trapping today, its role in traditional lifestyles, changes in the industry, and the importance of beaver to the economy and boreal forest ecosystem. A copy of the video is available through the Manitoba Trappers Association.