Band in B.C.’s Fraser Canyon proposes to protect manage 350 sq. km swath of land

January 5, 2023

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Band in B.C.’s Fraser Canyon proposes to protect, manage 350 sq. km swath of land

Indigenous petroglyphs, old growth forest, cultural significance at further risk: Kanaka Bar Band

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Kanaka Bar Band is a Nlaka’pamux First Nation in the Fraser Canyon, about 14 km south of Lytton. Their proposed IPCA encompasses the Kwoiek and Four Barrel watersheds and adjacent parts of the Fraser Canyon, which will include roughly 125 square km of old-growth forests.

They hope to “safeguard” the territory’s unique ecosystems and cultural heritage from further harm, as well as to restore areas that have been damaged by industrial logging and mining over the past century. O’Rourke says that although around 180 square km of intact forest remains, much of the territory was clear cut by Teal Jones in the 1970s-’90s, and significant restoration work is needed.

“Returning the territory to Kanaka Bar will advance the entire Fraser Canyon’s climate resiliency,” O’Rourke said. “Functional, healthy ecosystems are our best defense against natural disasters. After more than a century of profit-driven management, it is time for a different set of values to guide land use. The wildfires and landslides of 2021 make this abundantly clear.”

Their release was undersigned by Kanaka Bar Chief Patrick Michell and the band’s CEO Greg Grayson.