By Heather Ramsay–Another 56,000 hectares of forested land scattered throughout Graham and Moresby Islands have now been protected.
The areas were first protected by a very temporary measure called Government Action Regulation, as part of the agreement between the Haida and the province after the Islands Spirit Rising action last March.
A year after the letter of understanding was signed, the areas, many of which were outlined as cedar archaeology, cultural cedar, goshawk and marbled murrelet areas of the Haida Land Use Vision, are now protected under Part 13 of the Forest Act. Parts of the Yakoun and the Tlell watersheds were also included.
This protection is in effect until May 31, 2007.
Council of the Haida Nation President Guujaaw says this designation takes the pressure off the negotiations. “Companies have been trying to get approval in these areas,” he says.
In fact, Husby Forest Products took the province and the CHN to court because the district manager had been holding off on approving cut blocks in some of these areas.
Since the Part 13 designations were made, that case has been adjourned.
Guujaaw says the areas will now be considered in the government-to-government negotiations on the Land Use Plan. He says the goal of that process is to examine everything again, and to attach permanent protection to areas.
Currently more than 225,500 hectares have interim protection on the islands. Approximately 142,000 hectares were designated as the Duu Guusd area in 1999, followed by another 27,700 hectares in April 2005 and 56,000 this month.
There are still a number of other outstanding issues to be resolved from the April 2005 Letter of Understanding, including the Allowable Annual Cut, a Haida tenure, the bear hunt and a revenue sharing agreement.
A community viability process is also underway.
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