Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Guardian Gisele Martin shares a moment with an old growth tree. (Submitted photo)

Vancouver Island Indigenous leaders support B.C. plan for old forest preservation

More than 260,000 hectares in Clayoquot Sound mapped for immediate old growth harvesting deferral

On Sept. 11, the provincial government released a holistic plan to preserve about 353,000 hectares of old-growth forests in British Columbia, including more than 260,000 hectares in Clayoquot Sound.

Initial actions from the Province include immediately deferring old forest harvesting in nine areas throughout B.C. as well as engaging the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations to review the report.

Ahousaht hereditary representative and Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) senior advisor Tyson Atleo said they are appreciative of the commitment from the Province.

“What this temporary deferral does for the Ahousaht is it establishes a kind of state that allows Ahousaht to work directly with B.C. for changes to forest management in our territories,” said Atleo.

“B.C. has made very positive commitments to the Ahousaht, recognizing the Ahousaht as title holders and have committed to co-designing a process that will allow Ahousaht to work with B.C. to advance some of our economic interests in the forestry sector, which includes some protection of old-growth, but also advancing Ahousaht interests around second growth harvest opportunities to ensure that we can continue to provide economic opportunity for our people in forestry,” he said.

READ: Ahousaht First Nation sees sustainable development as top priority

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations deputy chief Terry Dorward said his Nation is optimistic about working with the Provincial and Federal government to reform logging practices that have “devastated our traditional territories”.

“This announcement is a step in the right direction to stop the cutting of old growth, which is getting more and more difficult for our people to practice our culture. It’s getting harder and harder to find western red cedar. It feels like we’ve won this battle, but the War of the Woods seems to continue throughout the generations here. We are doing our best to do what our ancestors did,” said Dorward.

Friends of Clayoquot Sound co-founder Michael Mullin echoed his sentiment.

“For the first time in history, the B.C. Government announced the deferral of logging in Clayoquot Sound for the next two years, which is great and long overdue,” said Mullin in a press release.

READ: Tla-o-qui-aht and Tofino celebrate 35th anniversary of Meares Island Tribal Park Declaration

Gisele Martin, a Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Guardian and Nuu-chah-nulth language activist, says in Indigenous culture, the forest is considered an ancestral garden.

“The water, the air, the land, the spirit of this place is the source of our life force and where our culture comes from. Whatever we can do to protect the territory, directly protects ourselves and our identity as an Indigenous Nation. Through the work with the Land Vision that I’ve been involved with, I see that the majority of Nation wants to protect the forest and that isn’t something new as in n-e-w, it might be ‘nuu’ as in n-u-u Nuu-chah-nulth, which is very, very old,” Martin said.

There are many names for trees in Nuu-chah-nulth language, notes Martin, but the most generic one she could offer is ‘Su-chas’, meaning ‘land holder’.

“Every part of the forest here has names just like there are names for different districts of a city today,” she explained. “Every part of the forest has a forest guardian associated with it and these forest guardians took care of the forest in different ways. We did not as Nuu-chah-nulth, go randomly into the forest and cut down trees when we needed wood for a canoe or totem poles or for longhouse. We had a lot of laws,” she said, adding that they were taught to never cut down a tree close to an eagle’s nest or disturb areas where there is a wolf or bear den.

READ: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more resources needed to keep Tribal Parks open

The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust offered congratulations to Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht Nations.

“We’re grateful to Nuu-chah-nulth for their leadership and stewardship of these lands. It’s exciting to witness the significant step towards the implementation of the Ahousaht hahoulthlee Land Use Vision and the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Vision. We’re looking forward to discussing what this temporary deferral means for the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere zonation with the Board members later this month,” reads a statement from the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust.

Ma-Mook Natural Resources Ltd. owns the Tree Farm Licence (TFL) for area 54 and 57 located in Clayoquot Sound.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: B.C. suspends some old-growth logging, consults communities

READ: Vancouver Island protesters call B.C.’s response to new old-growth report a ‘diversion’

First Nationsforestry

Just Posted

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kairry Nguyen. The family says they are relieved the trial process has come to close Monday morning with Tenessa Nikirk found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sentencing begins for distracted driver in collision that left 11-year-old Island girl in coma

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit at a Saanich crosswalk in 2017

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor has expressed concerns about the excessive freighters parked in the Salish Sea for quite some time. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Victoria police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

Premier-elect John Horgan, during a visit in Sidney, broadly promised improvements to transit among other issues in the riding of Saanich North and the Islands, even after voters re-elected BC Green Adam Olsen as Member of the Legislative Assembly. (Black Press Media file photo)
Premier-elect John Horgan promises to work with all MLAs and for all ridings

‘There are a whole bunch of views in the community and they need to be heard and I intend to listen.’

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Can you spot all 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens? Jen Blyth photo.
The magic of Christmas returns to the Butchart Gardens

Some events cancelled due to COVID-10 but 12 Days of Christmas will brighten the season

B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Victoria police are looking for high-risk offender Douglas McPherson. (Courtesy of VicPD)
High-risk parolee with history of bank robbery believed to be in Victoria

Police ask for public’s help locating 64-year-old parolee

A modular unit is lifted into place on the supportive housing complex at 580 Dogwood Street on Oct. 22. Photo by Cleo Corbett/City of Campbell River
Campbell River’s newest supportive housing facility rises on Dogwood Street

Pre-fab modular construction means the building can go on the foundation in under five days

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who rammed a police car to escape an arrest attempt. (File photo)
Drug trafficking suspect rams police vehicle in Nanaimo and escapes arrest

Suspect still at large after fleeing from police in Harewood on Friday afternoon

Const. Graham Walker of the Saanich Traffic Safety Unit recreates an incident involving a driver who police say attempted to film the scene of a crash while driving up Highway 17. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police track down driver caught filming accident scene on Pat Bay Highway

Driver issued $368 ticket, points on their licence

Most Read