Rainforest Solutions Project

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


Environmental Groups support new conservancy designation with caution

May 5, 2006

(Vancouver, BC) – Greenpeace, ForestEthics and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter, announced today that they support the creation of a new conservancy designation under the Parks Act that meets First Nations’ needs for cultural and traditional uses in protected areas. For the first time under the Parks Act, legislation for conservancies will provide protection of biological diversity and First Nations’ interests.

While some low impact economic development by local communities is anticipated in conservancies, our organizations endorse the rigorous application of the legislation’s three-prong test that any permissible activity or development must meet prior to government approval. The three-prong test will ensure that biological diversity is maintained and protected, as well as First Nations’ cultural uses and recreation values of the conservancies.

ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter remain concerned over the lack of conservation sector input into the new conservancy designation. As a result, it is even more important the conservation sector be included in the development of management plans for the new conservancies.

We also remain concerned about the potential threat of allowing road building and small scale hydro electric development. Our organizations have been clear that we do not support trophy hunting or industrial development, including logging, mining, hydro electric projects and roads, in parks or conservancies. In addition, our organizations emphasize that all protected areas in British Columbia must be adequately resourced to ensure proper management and protection.

The conservancy legislation is a necessary component to enable follow-through on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. On February 7, 2006 the Premier, First Nations, the forest industry and environmentalists committed to a three part solution, which includes the protection of one third of the rainforest from logging, a new approach to forestry called Ecosystem-Based Management, and funding for economic development for First Nations and local communities in the region. ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter urge the Province to move forward on legally designating all of the agreed upon protection areas in order to begin the collaborative implementation of the full solution package.