Photo by Birgitte BartlettPhoto by Birgitte BartlettPhoto by Birgitte BartlettPhoto by Birgitte BartlettPhoto by Birgitte BartlettPhoto by Birgitte BartlettPhoto by Birgitte BartlettPhoto by Birgitte BartlettPhoto by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Booklet 1 - Kitsumkalum Forest Lands

Forest lands cover most of the Kitsumkalum Settlement Lands (about 260 square kilometres or 59 percent). This is 60 times bigger than our Kitsumkalum Reserves, which is a total of 4 1/2 square kilometres. These forest lands occur in the valleys of the Kitsumkalum, Nelson and Cedar Rivers and in the valley and mountain slopes of the Zymacord River. The types of trees growing in the forest include hemlock, 'balsam' fir, red cedar, pine, alder, cottonwood, and birch. Much of the forest is young second growth (younger than 60 years). Forest of intermediate age (61-251 years) make up a lesser amount of the forest lands.

The forest has always been an important resource to Kitsumkalum. Traditionally, trees were used fo their timber, bark, roots, branches and sap for homes, canoes, totem poles, firewood, carving, weaving and food. Many of these uses to continue and are an important part of our culture and connection to the land.

Commercial logging has become and important economic activity for Kitsumkalum and will likely continue to be economically important to us. Kalum Ventures Limited (KVL), the economic arm of the Kitsumkalum Band Council, has held a forestry licence in Kitsumkalum watershed since 2004. About 240 kilometres of the forest in Kitsumkalum Settlement Lands has been available for logging by KVL and others: with treaty, this area will come under Kitsumkalum control, and could support cutting of approximately 46 000 cubic metres of timber every year. To put this in perspective, the totem poles in front of Kitsumkalum Hall are roughly four cubic metres each.

Timber is one resource in the diverse forest landscape of the region. Within our forest lands there are heritage sites and sensitive areas such as historic village sites, berry picking areas, fish habitat, bear dens and wetlands. We will need to strike a balance between economic activities like logging and conserving these heritage sites and sensitive areas. With treaty, future Kitsumkalum governments will be able to make laws and develop policies that allow us to set up areas or create management rules to properly conserve areas.

What will the Final Agreement say about Forest Lands?

Currently, the forest in British Columbia are managed by the provincial government in accordance with the Forest Act, the Forest and Range Practice Act, and other legislation. The Kitsumkalum Settlement Lands overlap with the Cascadia and Kalum Timber Supply Areas (TSA) and Tree Farm Licence 1 (TFL) Licencees holding tenures in the TSA's or TFL 1 have management rights to the forest in those areas but they do not own the forest. Until treaty, these licences will continue to have management responsibility for our forests.

With Treaty, Kitsumkalum will take ownership of the Settlement Lands, including all forest resources on those lands. Existing forest tenures will no longer exist after treaty. Provincial laws regarding private forest land will apply, and Kitsumkalum will also make additional laws, such as a Kitsumkalum Forest Act, in regard to forest resources and create our own standards. Treaty will ensure we regain our right to decide how at least a portion of our forests will managed.

Roles and Responsibility of Government Officials


Under the Indian Act, Band Councils make decisions based on internal policy or on a case by case basis, and these decisions can be inconsistent with past or future Councils. 

With treaty, a First Nations government makes decisions based on laws made by the First Nations Legislature. This ensures consistency in administration and governanace. Laws can be changed, but only through a transparent process that will be consistent with the First Nation's Constitution.

Kitsumkalum Forest Act

The purpose of a Kitsumkalum Forest Act will be to ensure that Kitsumkalum forest resources are properly managed to allow use of the forest while also protecting the resource so that it meets the needs of all the people.

A Kitsumkalum Forest Act might:

  • Set out objectives for Kitsumkalum forest lands management
  • Allow the future Kitsumkalum government to control harvesting of logs and other forest resources
  • Define who is responsible for forest lands and their authorities
  • Define the amount allowed to be harvested each year (e.g. logging)
  • Describe licencing systems that will apply to various activities on forest lands and set rents and fees payable to Kitsumkalum (e.g. stumpage)
  • Set out standards to be followed by anyone granted a licence to harvest (e.g. how they manage their activities in the forest)
  • Define silviculture (e.g. reforestation) requirements and where they must apply on the forest lands
  • Set standards for management of cultural sites, heritage sites, wildlife habitat, fisheries areas, rare ecosystems, wetlands, streams, and other uses of the forest resource
 
Administration and Policy

The future Kitsumkalum government will adminster the Settlement Landes, including activiities under a Kitsumkalum Forest Act. To do this effectively, policies will need to be developed that guide this administration. These policies would outline ways to handle requests to carry out activities in the forest that are consistent with Kitsumkalum forestry laws. Such policies could guide administration when dealing with activities such as cutting firewood, gathering would for cultural use (carvers) and the use of the downed trees (windfall).
For more complicated activities like logging, Kitsumkalum forestry laws may require issuance of permits, and policy would indentify how a permit should be applied for and processed, or additional items that would help the administration confirm an application is consistent with the law. For example, policy may indicate that a permit application can be approved more readily if it includes a suitable work plan and describes how it meets the interests of the Kitsumkalum people on Settlement Lands. The policy might also describe what is required in a suitable work plan. The Kitsumkalum government will need to have a person responsible for reviewing these applications to make sure they meet the requirements of our laws.