The Tsilhqot’in Nation and the Province will work together to ensure a sustainable moose population and harvest in the Chilcotin.
The Nation and B.C signed a moose co-management agreement Friday.
Tribal Chairman for the Tsilhqot’in National Government Chief Joe Alphonse says they had entered into some pretty intense discussions last week.
“We set a deadline of Wednesday and we finally got it done today so I think we’re pretty excited,” he said.
“There’s still a lot of work that has to happen, but it’s a good start. When we look at the territory that we’re from, the 2017 fires and the devastation that we saw, it’s time to look at land use plans. This is going to give us an opportunity to look at all of that and develop some new moose regulations based on what we would find acceptable.”
Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Doug Donaldson says that the agreement accelerates their commitments under the 2016 Nenqay Deni Accord which paved the way for a comprehensive and lasting reconciliation between the Tŝilhqot’in Nation and the Province, reducing conflicts over lands and resources and developing strategies for consensus building.
The agreement according to a joint news release will:
- Guide the establishment of a government-to-government shared decision-making process to co-manage wildlife in a manner that incorporates the parties’ respective decision-making responsibilities, interests, values, roles, and responsibilities.
- Result in a co-developed and co-hosted moose roundtable workshop with the goal of bringing representatives of neighboring Indigenous nations and stakeholders who wish to constructively engage in finding solutions to the moose decline in the region.
- Set the foundations to work together to promote timber harvesting and forest management practices that restore and enhance moose habitat and address interactions with other wildlife species.
“Part of the agreement also includes meeting with all user groups around Williams Lake area so it’ll give people the chance/opportunity to voice and give input into a resource that I think we want to maintain,” Alphonse said.
“We want to ensure there’s always going to in our territory for generations to come-this is what this is all about.”
Moose populations in the Tŝilhqot’in Territory have declined in the past decade as a result of a number of factors.
“We’ve had three years of failed talks in regards to moose management so we definitely pushed the envelope a little harder this year, and finally we’re getting some results and making some headway on that front,” Alphonse said.
“Situations like the Raven Lake logging road and the Mackin Creek areas are taxing on everyone but we have to do what we have to to protect our interests. The days of having governments and industry make decisions without properly meeting with us are gone. We are in a position where we want to be involved in every decision out there and we’ll do and take whatever means are necessary to make sure that we’re heard.”