B.C. Signs Parks Agreement With Hupacasath Nation
For Immediate Release
July 13, 2007
Ministry of Environment
VICTORIA – The government of British Columbia and the Hupacasath First Nation have signed a government-to-government agreement to collaboratively manage parks and protected areas within the Hupacasath traditional territory, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today.“This agreement marks an important step towards more effective management of parks and protected areas in Hupacasath territory,” said Penner. “It will allow British Columbia and the Hupacasath government to better protect the natural resources of these areas, while preserving their link to First Nations’ heritage and culture.”
The Collaborative Agreement for the Management of Parks and Protected Areas in Hupacasath First Nation Traditional Territory focuses on park planning and capacity building, and on creating a forum for both parties to discuss issues of common interest. Through agreements like this, B.C. is able to work together with First Nations to ensure the long-term ecological and cultural integrity of the lands and resources in First Nations’ traditional territories.
The Hupacasath traditional territory is located in the Alberni Valley on central Vancouver Island. It encompasses approximately 229,000 hectares, from Mt. Chief Frank in the north to 5040 Peak and Hannah Mountain in the south, and from Mt. Arrowsmith and Mt. Spencer in the east to Big Interior Mountain in the west. There are six provincial parks and one ecological reserve within Hupacasath territory. The Collaborative Management Agreement will ensure that Hupacasath Aboriginal rights, Aboriginal title and indigenous wisdom are recognized in the management of all of these areas.
“The Hupacasath First Nation is pleased to be making another positive step forward with the Province of B.C. in the spirit of the New Relationship by signing a collaborative agreement with respect to the parks in our territory,” said Hupacasath Chief Judith Sayers. “Together with provincial expertise and our indigenous wisdom in caring for the lands and resources, we will better be able to protect the ecological and cultural resources in the parks for the benefit of everyone.”
The Hupacasath territory contains some of the most valuable forest, fish and marine resources in the world, including vast forests of western red cedar, yellow cedar, Douglas fir, hemlock and balsam, and lakes and rivers containing all five species of Pacific Salmon.
Prior to signing the Collaborative Management Agreement, Minister Penner and Chief Judith Sayers toured the China Creek Small Hydro Project, which was developed in partnership with the Hupacasath Nation.
“The renewable energy project is a good example of sustainable economic development,” noted Penner.
The Province of British Columbic is committed to the Pacific Leadership Agenda to build a new relationship with First Nations and Aboriginal people, conclude treaties, and close gaps in health, housing, education, and economic opportunities.
To download an audio clip of Minister Penner describing the advantages of this Collaborative Management Agreement, please visit: www.mediaroom.gov.bc.ca/DisplayEventDetails.aspx?eventId=382