A historic land use planning agreement signed by the In-SHUCK-ch First Nation and the Province of B.C. creates new cultural management areas and three new land conservancies in the First Nations’ traditional territories.
The agreement, signed Friday in Pemberton, is not a treaty but reflects the type of land uses the In-SHUCK-ch would like to see in a treaty. The In-SHUCK-ch Nation will be active partners with the province in the land management plan.
“I think these three gentlemen have shown tremendous leadership by saying ‘yes’ and by saying ‘let’s move forward, let’s find a way to have orderly development in our traditional territories’,” said Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell.
The In-SHUCK-ch Nation’s traditional territories run down the east side of Garibaldi Provincial Park, on the lower Lillooet River between Lillooet Lake and Harrison Lake. The chiefs of the three In-SHUCK-ch communities, Douglas, Skatin and Samahquam, were on hand to sign the agreement.
“This is an important step forward in protecting the local habitat while ensuring that we will have the opportunity to build upon our success in local economic development,” said Chief Patrick Williams of the Skatin First Nation.
The agreement divides the In-SHUCK-ch traditional territories into zones, including an integrated forest management zone, a wild land zone, cultural management areas, future conservancies and existing parks and protected areas.
The agreement covers the eastern portion of the much larger Sea-to-Sky Land and Resource Management Plan and forms part of the Sea-to-Sky LRMP.
While the In-SHUCK-ch traditional territory is rich in natural resources and is relatively close to Whistler, Pemberton and the Lower Mainland, it is rugged terrain accessible by a rough gravel road that runs from Mount Currie south to Harrison. B.C. Hydro power lines run through the valley but the In-SHUCK-ch communities are off the power grid. They get most of their electricity from diesel generators.
A proper, paved road, run-of-river hydro projects and log home building are some of the economic keys to In-SHUCK-ch’s future.