Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


B.C. First Nation files historic land-use plan

September 20, 2005

(Vancouver, BC) – Members of a First Nations group on the central coast of British Columbia released a historic land-use plan Monday, saying they want to reap the economic benefits of the area by managing resources such as fishing, logging and mining.

The 2,500-member Heiltsuk First Nation, whose territory in Bella Bella, B.C., covers almost 17,000 square kilometres, has also laid claim to 19,000 square kilometres of surrounding ocean and waterways.

The Heiltsuk also want 49 per cent of the territory — dubbed the Great Bear Rainforest by environmentalists — to be protected for its sacred sites and cultural significance, including medicinal use. The land-use plan, developed over five years, is not yet finalized as the Heiltsuk Tribal Council consults with the B.C. government, which has its own plan for the area.