Rainforest Solutions Project

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


B.C. band seeks control of resources

September 19, 2005

(Vancouver, BC) – A First Nation on B.C.‘s Central Coast wants to manage resources in the region.

The demand is contained in a historic land-use plan being released by the Heiltsuk Tribal Council, which also lays claim to 19,000 square kilometres of surrounding ocean and waterways.

The 2,200-member band, based in Bella Bella, B.C., is also seeking a ban on “destructive” logging, salmon farms, and oil and gas exploration.

The Heiltsuk’s move comes as the B.C. government crafts a policy on wilderness protection in the coastal area, which environmentalists have dubbed the “Great Bear Rainforest.”

Ross Wilson, the chief councillor of the band, said the government and Heiltsuk agree on many issues but disagree on the issues of oil and gas exploration and the share of the land to be protected.

A final decision on land use is expected to be made by the B.C. cabinet later this year.