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Huu-ay-aht First Nations make decision on old growth deferral

33 percent of nation’s territory made up of old growth forests: Robert Dennis Sr.
The Sarita Estuary sits at the heart of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ ḥahuułi (traditional territory) and has been a source of food, transportation and cultural value to the nations for generations. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Huu-ay-aht First Nations have decided to honour most of the B.C. provincial government’s recent decision on old growth forestry deferral.

After reviewing maps provided by the provincial government to the Nation, Huu-ay-aht leadership determined 33 percent of old growth remains in their Hahuulthi (traditional territory) and TFL 44). Old growth refers to forests greater than 250 years old.

Huu-ay-aht will defer harvesting for two years of 96 percent of the Technical Advisory Panel’s (TAP) proposed area, but they intend to harvest the remaining four percent. Anything less could adversely affect the nations’ economic development

Much of the area set aside for deferral is already protected under existing conservation measures or not planned for harvest in the next two years, Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. said.

This determination is preliminary and only refers to Huu-ay-aht First Nations interests, not those of any other First Nations.

READ MORE: Port Alberni forestry workers rally against old-growth deferral

Huu-ay-aht expects to make a final determination on its deferrals by mid-January 2022.

Beginning in 2023, Huu-ay-aht’s long-term stewardship decisions will be informed by the outcome of Huu-ay-aht’s two-year Hišuk ma cawak Integrated Resource Management Planning process.

“As a Modern Treaty Nation, Huu-ay-aht will decide how best to manage our lands and resources guided by our three Sacred Principles of ?iisaak (utmost respect), ?uu?ałuk (taking care of), and hišuk ma cawak (everything is one),” said Tayii Hawilth (Hereditary Chief) Derek Peters.

“We expect broad recognition and respect for our old growth two-year deferral decisions and our long-term forest and resource stewardship decisions.”