20 Years of Protection for BC’s Sacred Headwaters - Mostly

After 14 years of blockades, negotiations, arrests, court injunctions, rallies and a 610km swim of the entire Skeena River, 700,000 acres or 2832 square kilometers of the Sacred Headwaters will be free of industrial development for a minimum of 20 years.

This morning, the BC Government posted the DRAFT KLAPPAN PLAN on their website.  This plan, the result of the Klappan Strategic Initiative launched in 2013, identifies approximately 40% of the planning area as an industrial free zone until a more permanent plan is created. A 4-month public comment period will begin later this year and will need to be completed before the plan is finalized.   

“We applaud those, especially the Tahltan, who have worked long and hard for more than a decade to achieve this major milestone and we know the work is not yet done,” says Shannon McPhail, Executive Director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, “This is only a draft plan and there are some concerns such as the boundary area that seems to contradict a Supreme Court of Canada ruling as well as the option for Fortune Minerals to buy back their coal mine tenure in the future. We will work hard with communities to ensure the final Klappan Plan gives us a big reason to celebrate.”

“We think the Klappan Plan creates a new level of certainty for land-based economic and capital investment to support land management jobs and technologies, restoration & remediation projects as well as infrastructure as part of the long-term protection of the Sacred Headwaters,” adds Brian Huntington, Associate Director for SWCC.

The Sacred Headwaters is a landscape of global significance. Directly adjacent to the Spatsizi Plateau, the area is renowned for its rich bio-diversity and cultural importance. The headwaters of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena rivers are all located within the Klappan Plan area.  Together, these three wild salmon-river systems sustain downstream communities, guide outfitting, fishing industries and sustenance fisheries for families throughout the entire province, especially along the north coast.

“These rivers are among the last surviving intact, kick-ass, grizzly bear chasing 30-pound salmon over waterfalls kind of rivers. First Nation and non-First Nation families harvesting enough food for the winter kind of rivers. Dip your head in and drink the water without tablets or filters because it’s so clean kind of rivers. Wolves chasing moose and caribou kinds of rivers.  Stone Sheep and Mountain Goats watching from the mountains kind of rivers. Not a single dam anywhere kind of rivers.” Shannon McPhail on the Sacred Headwaters in 2013

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Link to BC Government Press Release

For Media Inquiries: Shannon McPhail (250)842-8738