The Province is changing the legal status of more than a million hectares of Crown land around Atlin to help support the cultural interests of local First Nations, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced today.
The new designation, authorized under the Environment and Land Use Act, prohibits the construction of large hydropower plants and transmission lines on 116,000 hectares of land culturally significant to the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, and on a 12-hectare block around Racine Falls, an important site for the Yukon-based Carcross Tagish First Nation.
As well, commercial forestry will not be allowed in a wilderness area that covers 1.2 million hectares of Crown land.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -
"These changes support both the Atlin-Taku Land Use Plan and a strategic engagement agreement with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation. I am proud that government has been able to find creative ways to work with First Nations to ensure that culturally important regions are preserved to support the long-term stewardship and sustainability needs of the region.“
Taku River Tlingit First Nation spokesperson John Ward -
“The Taku River Tlingit First Nation is pleased that this Order in Council has been established to follow through on commitments made in the Atlin-Taku Land Use Plan prohibiting large scale commercial logging and hydroelectric projects in sensitive regions of our territory. Our interests are to ensure a balance of development and conservation by maintaining appropriate zones for resource extraction, yet also preserving wilderness, cultural areas, and fish and wildlife habitat. The land use plan that we jointly developed with the Province is expected to uphold this balance and ensure the preservation of Tlingit Khustiyxh way of life.”
Atlin-Taku Land Use Plan: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/SLRP/plan5.html
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations