Powell River

This community of 13,000 has more than a few forestry claims to fame. As the northernmost city of the picturesque Sunshine Coast, it has been a hub of coastal forestry activity for over 100 years.


In a region long inhabited by the Coast Salish Peoples, Powell River was first established in 1912 with the opening of the Powell River Mill. The first newsprint-producing mill in western Canada, along with surrounding logging operations, has been a focal point of the community ever since.

A Proud History

At one point, the Powell River Mill grew to be the largest newsprint pulp and paper mill in the world, bringing BC forest products to every corner of the globe: it provided newsprint for approximately 1 in 25 newspapers printed in the world.

To house and support the population of mill workers, the Powell River Townsite was established. The charming arts-and-crafts homes and rich commercial buildings, master-planned in accordance with the era’s conception of an idyllic community, have stood the test of time. In recognition of its status as an exceptionally well-preserved planned industry community, in 1995 the Townsite was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

Forestry and a World-Beating Environment

Today, logging and mill activities are an employment staple in Powell River, along with their many spin-off jobs. A strong economic base, in this case, created by the forest products sector, is critical to the viability and prosperity of any community. Providing that base, the Powell River Mill continues to be an industry leader in producing specialty paper for magazines and flyers and is Powell River’s largest employer.

Powell River is proof that forestry and a healthy environment can co-exist. In 2016, Powell River was named the least polluted city in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records, using air quality data from the World Health Organization.

Powell River Community Forest

In 2006, the Powell River Community Forest was created to return a direct share of forestry revenues to community amenities that enrich the lives of all local residents. Just some of the initiatives supported by the Community Forest include track and field infrastructure, the Powell River Curling Club, Powell River Gymnastics Club, the local arena, and two scholarships.

The Community Forest achieves its mandate while setting clear objectives to protect old growth stands, enhance water quality, provide recreational opportunities, and return profits to community projects.  It’s a leading example of the shared prosperity that can be generated through sustainable forest management and tree harvesting.

About Forestry Friendly Communities BC

Learn more

Forestry Friendly Communities was started in 2016 as a way to celebrate the proud history and rich future of BC’s coast forest sector.  The term “Forestry Friendly” is intended to recognize pride in, and an ongoing commitment to BC’s forestry sector. In fact, the forest sector supports 1 in 16 jobs in BC. It also contributes $12.4 billion to the provincial GDP and injects $2.5 billion in taxes and fees to the three levels of government.

For more than a century, the forest sector has fueled our coastal economy and shaped our communities. Today, people and businesses across BC’s coastal region depend on transportation networks and other services developed for our forest sector. Families are able to earn a living while enjoying a unique West Coast lifestyle.

Forestry Friendly Communities is proudly brought to you by companies and associations working in forestry in coastal BC.