A local First Nation has reached a management deal with the provincial government for the Great Bear Rainforest.
Although this tract of land, which is more than three times the size of Prince Edward Island, is mostly coastal, it reaches into the traditional territory of the Ulkatcho First Nation south of Prince George and west of Williams Lake. Their headquarters is in Anahim Lake.
On Thursday they signed a Strategic Land Use Planning Agreement with the provincial government. Part of it was the mutual adoption of the Ecosystem Based Management set of principals that were formalized in 2006 for BC's coastal region. This stipulates the protective elements of old-growth forests, freshwater ecosystems, grizzly bear habitat, and supports the recognition and management of cultural and heritage resources of Coastal First Nations.
The agreement also triggers Ulkatcho eligibility for the Coast Opportunity Funds for up to $577,000 earmarked for economic development projects that are consistent with land and resource management objectives laid out in the Ecosystem Based Management protocol.
"[We place] tremendous importance on the Central and North Coast as a key area of our traditional territory, a sacred landscape and a vibrant ecosystem," Zach Parker, chief or the Ulkatcho First Nation, said. "We are encouraged by the province's efforts to work with First Nations with respect to creating a healthy coastal economy."