Old growth harvesting deferred in Fairy Creek, Walbran areas

THE Province announced on Wednesday that it is honouring the request of the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations and deferring old growth harvesting in the Fairy Creek watershed and central Walbran areas in their territories.

This action is consistent with government’s commitments to reconciliation and to protecting old-growth forests.

“Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and protecting the environment are top priorities for our government. We believe they must go hand in hand,” said Premier John Horgan. “That’s why we’re pleased to approve the request from three First Nations to defer old-growth logging on their territory – including in the Fairy Creek watershed. The first step in protecting old growth must be respecting Indigenous peoples’ land-management rights in their territories.”

The deferrals follow a request made by the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations, who issued the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration on June 7, 2021. The deferrals protect all old growth in the Fairy Creek watershed and the central Walbran area – spanning over 2,000 hectares – for two years while the First Nations title holders build resource-stewardship plans for their lands.

“True reconciliation means meaningful partnerships, listening to Indigenous peoples and trusting their stewardship of their territories,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “This is a step in the right direction, but we know there is more work to do. Our government is doing the hard, but necessary, work to build a plan that protects B.C.’s old growth forests for future generations.”

In 2019, government committed to aligning its policies, legislation and actions with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

In 2020, government committed to adopting all 14 recommendations of the independent panel on old growth, beginning with the immediate deferral of nearly 200,000 hectares of old-growth forests. Government has committed to continued consultations with Indigenous peoples on further deferrals of old-growth forests.

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