By Heidi Bevington–Although the land use forum will not complete everything it set out to do, it will produce nine sets of recommendations describing how islanders want the land managed for the next ten years.
“There’s always more that can be accomplished,” said forum co-chair Carol Kulesha, “but the basic important values were prioritized. We’re going to have those done.”
The recommendations will relate to old growth forest, indicator species such as salmon, timber, tourism, minerals, fresh water systems, community stability, cedar and Haida cultural values.
The land use planning forum will meet one more time in December, and then the process team that supports the forum will summarize the recommendations in a final draft document for the forum to approve in February. “In looking at what we’ve written-the agreement in its entirety-there may be an opportunity for more agreement,” at the February meeting, said Ms Kulesha.
After that, the province and the Council of the Haida Nation will negotiate a land use agreement, taking the forums recommendations into account.
Co-chair Tamara Rullin said that recommendations specific to forestry will be summarized in a separate report outlining local objectives for land use and sustainable forest management to the South Moresby Forest Replacement Account to “help SMFRA set goals and objectives regarding forestry issues.”
At its meeting last weekend in Port Clements, the forum worked on six areas.
Thursday morning, Captain Gold presented “The 1000 Year Cedar Strategy” of the CHN. Karen Church and Travis Glassman joined him in talking about the Haida people’s cultural need for cedar to create poles, long houses and canoes, and the dramatic short supply of monumental cedar for this purpose. They presented three recommendations for the mapping and protection of CMT’s and monumental cedar on the islands.
The forum also heard a presentation about community stability that included a recommendation to create a strategy to help the islands create a sustainable economy.
Friday morning, the tourism representatives presented recommendations related to visual quality, sports fishing, boat anchorages and cultural sites. Then the forum broke into smaller groups, with some continuing the work on tourism issues and others working on the old growth forest strategy.
Recommendations about timber, mining and freshwater system protection were discusses Friday and Saturday as well.
As well as the two reports that the land use planning forum will produce, Ms Kulesha said another outcome of the process has been the start of a conversation amongst islanders.
“They formed a group of varied interests from throughout the islands and brought together interests that are islands wide,” said Ms Kulesha, specifically the need for local governance, local control and increased value added industry. “The conversation will of necessity continue,” she said.
As the process draws to a close, smaller groups working on specific issues such as tourism and old growth forest are meeting separately on their own initiative to make sure that work in those areas is completed.
“It’s been a tremendous effort by these people,” said Ms Kulesha.
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