The Tahltan Nation is stepping up its efforts to convince all visitors to avoid any non-essential travel through its territories in Northwest BC, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Tahltan Central Government president Chad Norman Day has issued a notice through Facebook and other online media that all hunting and recreational access points north of Bob Quinn, including the Stikine Bridge, will be blocked with gates, and monitored, including through video surveillance.
Day says the Tahltan have been trying to keep non-locals, including non-resident Tahltan members, away from the communities of Dease Lake, Iskut, and Telegraph Creek -- and the surrounding areas -- in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus to their territories.
But he told Open Connection host Robert Pictou that the message doesn't seem to be getting through to everyone, so it's time to step up measures to discourage non-essential travel.
"We're going to make sure that we have Tahltan people, T.C.G. personnel at those gates -- these gates are going to be under video surveillance and we're going to be working as closely as we can with the Province, the R.C.M.P. and Conservation Officers to make sure that we don't have too much conflict and at the end of the day this is all just about safety and making sure that we can limit the amount of traffic coming into Tahltan territory this year," he explained.
Day says the community outbreak on Haida Gwaii shows how quickly infection numbers can grow.
He said the consequences of spreading COVID-19 are too great, given the limited access to acute medical care for residents.
Day adds several popular access roads are already unaccessible due to various natural causes, such as landslides.