Tahltan land to be protected in partnership with conservation organizations, industry and Province
A new conservancy to protect the environment and wildlife on Tahltan territory has been created in northwestern B.C., historically known as the Ice Mountain Lands, adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park.
The Tahltan Central Government, the Province, Skeena Resources Limited, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and B.C. Parks Foundation has worked in partnership to create the conservancy.
In a News Release, Tahltan Central Government President Chad Norman says, "Mount Edziza and the surrounding area have always been sacred to the Tahltan Nation. The obsidian from this portion of our territory provided weaponry, tools and trading goods that ensured our people could thrive for thousands of years." He says that he is so relieved and thrilled that Mount Edziza is better protected for future generations.
The conservancy is the first step in the multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative. TSI's goal is to bring greater self-determination to the Tahltan Nation and support stewardship on Tahltan Territory.
Tahltan Central Government plans to rename the conservancy area at a future date to reflect Tahltan heritage better.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman says, "protecting these lands will preserve the natural environment, help maintain biological diversity and respect the history and importance of this area for the Tahltan Nation. Collaboration and shared understanding about stewardship of the lands and waters that sustain us are important lessons delivered through true reconciliation."
Skeena Resources Limited is returning its mineral tenures for its Spectrum mineral claim, which supports the partnership with the Tahltan to establish the new 3,500-hectare conservancy adjoining the 230,000-hectare Mount Edziza Provincial Park.
President and CEO Skeena Resources Walter Coles says, "we are delighted to work with Tahltan partners to be a part of this historically significant event. Through many open and respectful conversations with Tahltan leaders over the years, we have developed a sincere appreciation of this area's cultural importance to Tahltan."
The parties have worked together to establish the conservancy with support from the B.C. Parks Foundation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Province.
The Government of Canada also supported this initiative through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, the Wyss Foundation, MakeWay, the Wilburforce Foundation, MapleCross Fund, Sitka Foundation and the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation.
NDP MLA Nathan Cullen released a statement welcoming the partnership and says, "the Tahltan Nation has expressed that this decision would help preserve their history, the natural environment, and the importance of this area."