A Prince George area First Nation has reached an agreement with the B.C. government, which marks the largest First Nation Woodland Licence in B.C. history.
The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation will have exclusive timber harvesting rights to an estimated 217,312 hectares within the Nation’s territories east of Prince George, on both the north and south sides of the Highway 16 corridor, known as FNWL N2E.
The management plan for the FNWL supports decision-making authority over the planning, development, harvesting and cultural use of the timber resources within the area.
“Our new First Nations Woodland Licence will allow us to achieve greater economic certainty and the ability to act on our forest stewardship priorities, including supporting increased moose populations, which is a traditional food source for our members. We will continue to work with our local forest industry to achieve these objectives and we thank the B.C. government for believing in our vision and our ability to manage our forest resources,” said Chief Dolleen Logan of Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
The agreement was negotiated in 2021 at a negotiation table established by the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and the B.C. government.
According to a statement by the B.C. government, “the table reflects shared commitments by both governments to work together respectfully and co-operatively in the spirit of ongoing reconciliation.”
“The Province has heard loud and clear that First Nations across British Columbia want to play a larger role in the forest sector and in sustainable forest management. That’s why we are engaging in government-to-government dialogue that considers the inherent rights, diversity of interests and values of Indigenous communities,” said Katrine Conroy, minister of forests.
“Today’s agreement is real progress toward meaningful reconciliation and meeting our commitment to create new opportunities for Indigenous Peoples by doubling the amount of replaceable forest tenure held by First Nations.”
The new agreement will see the N2E gross land base increased by approximately 206312 hectares.