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‘It is so beautiful’: rare inland rainforest in B.C. declared Indigenous protected area – The Narwhal

by ahnationtalk on March 31, 202385 Views

March 31, 2023

In a race to conserve the largest intact, unprotected watershed in southern B.C., the Simpcw First Nation unilaterally declared the creation of a new protected area under Indigenous law — a move that could put an end to logging plans

In the heart of B.C.’s Cariboo region lies an old-growth rainforest valley untouched by industrial logging or road building. Salmon and trout spawn in a glacier-fed river bounded by wetlands. Caribou, grizzly bears and wolverines roam among cedar and hemlock trees hundreds of years old. Settlers called the valley Raush, an abbreviation of Rivière au Shuswap, referring to the Secwépemc peoples whose name they struggled to pronounce.

This week, two years after local ranchers and loggers objected to clear-cutting plans for the valley, the Simpcw First Nation declared the Raush River watershed an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA), signalling their intention to protect the valley and exercise their right to control what happens there.

“The area has had little resource development, and we intend to conserve it,” George Lampreau, Kúkwpi7 (Chief) for Simpcw stated. “Protecting the Raush as an IPCA allows us to continue to yecwmenúĺecw (take care of the land) as we have for time immemorial.”

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