Protecting the diversity and abundance of wild salmon habitat in the Upper Skeena watershed is critical to the long term health of the entire watershed. As one of Canada’s largest wilderness areas, the upper Skeena contains spawning and rearing habitats and water quality that helps drive the entire ecosystem from the Skeena estuary to the headwaters. Wild salmon are worth 1 Billion dollars every 10 years to the region and the upper skeena plays a key role in sustaining that economy.
SWCC was founded through wilderness expeditions in the upper Skeena and we continue to focus on being on the land with projects that support the long-term conservation of natural ecosystems and cultural landscapes that make this place so special. Ongoing fish & wildlife research, archeology & cultural heritage projects are helping to inform landscape sustaiunability plans for the upper Skeena that ultimately support the long term resilience of downstream communities. An expanding network of trails and cabins in the upper skeena is supporting a new generation to explore and uitilize the area year round.
SWCC has a history of working with Gitxsan chiefs and house groups on their traditional territories in the Upper Skeena to re-connect Gitxsan with their territories and create land use plans that protect ecological and cultural resources! As a result of this work, a young Gitxsan woman from the House of Gwininitxw and her partner spent the entire winter on her traditional territory learning to trap. Her presence on the land and use of traditional skills has inspired a new generation to connect with the possibility of non-industrial uses of the rich Upper Skeena environment.
In 2015, the House of Gwininitxw will present a Gwininitxw Sustainability Plan for 420,000 acres of roadless wilderness in the heart of the Upper Skeena. This plan and process will be shared with other Gitxsan house groups to build more protection in the Upper Skeena. This is an exciting time for First Nations in BC and we see many emerging leaders stepping forward through our work in the Upper Skeena territories.
New connections have been made with other Gitxsan house groups through our work with the house of Gwininitxw. Construction is already under way with a cabin on Luutkwudziiwuus territory and we look forward to connecting the the land use planning knowledge that the house of Gwininitxw is working on.