FOLLOWING ongoing conversations between B.C. and Lil’wat, Pipi7iekw (Joffre Lakes Provincial Park) will be open over the Labour Day long weekend.
This reopening has the support of all parties. The park will then be inaccessible starting Tuesday, September 5 while talks continue.
“The Lil’wat Nation has been the steward of this important place since time immemorial and it is important to provide our Nations the opportunity to use this land as they always have,” said Chief Dean Nelson of the Lil’wat Nation. “We will be in further conversations with the Province over the coming weeks to support reconciliation and the Nation’s long-term interests in the area.”
Since December 2018, Lil’wat and BC Parks have been engaging on park and visitor use management. In response to the growing number of visitors, the Lil’wat have developed a collaborative relationship with the Province to develop the Joffre Lakes Park 2019 Visitor Use Management Action Plan to ensure the natural resources and Indigenous cultural values of the park are protected while continuing to provide recreation opportunities for visitors of all abilities. The Nation and the Province are looking forward to continuing to advance this important work and in so doing support the cultural and sustenance needs of the nations.
“I’d like to express my appreciation to the Lil’wat Nation for their engagement this week as we actively work with them to ensure there is space and privacy for cultural practices,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “As these conversations continue, it is our commitment to finding solutions that meet all our interests and promote reconciliation of First Nation rights and title. We are optimistic that through conversations, a solution can be met.”
The First Nation and B.C. will continue to work throughout next week to discuss a plan for moving forward with park management and related issues. The Province is committed to partnership with the Nation and to ensuring a collaborative dialogue based on the recognition of rights.
“The work of reconciliation challenges us all to find new approaches to our relationships with First Nations,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “The Province is working hard to negotiate new forms of decision making and partnership with First Nations, whether through the treaty process, through reconciliation agreements or by means of other constructive arrangements.”
“All parties want to thank everyone for respecting park ranger guidance and Nation members, and we appreciate people’s understanding and assistance in providing the space to seek solutions,” said the Province.
More information on day passes and backcountry availability can be found online at: https://bcparks.ca/