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Agreement reached to protect Klappan Valley

The B.C. government and Tahltan Nation have signed a land-use plan for the Klappan Valley, headwaters of the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine rivers.

A ceremonial signing and celebration took place with Tahltan Central Government President Chad Norman Day, Iskut Band Chief Marie Quock, Tahltan Band Chief Rick McLean and Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. The signing has cemented the Klappan Plan, which guides where resource management activities can occur in the area and protects the Sacred Headwaters – the headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers – from industrial development for a minimum of 20 years.

The plan defines three distinct zones with varying acceptable land uses covering more than 620,000 hectares.

* Zone A: Major industrial activity in the Sacred Headwaters zone’s approximately 287,000 hectares is deferred for a minimum of 20 years, but the plan includes flexibility for amendments should consensus be reached by both the Tahltan and the Province on adjusted land-management objectives in the future. While industrial activities are not considered generally acceptable activities in this zone, other land uses and forms of tenure, such as recreation and guide outfitting, are considered generally acceptable.

* Zone B: Proposed project designs for economic development in this more than 49,000-hectare zone will need to account, in advance, for all relevant cultural information collected, with consideration of ways to address, avoid, minimize or mitigate potential impacts.

* Zone C: At more than 284,000 hectares, this zone provides predictability for proposed economic development that is environmentally and culturally responsible and conforms to regulatory processes and agreements between the Tahltan and B.C. government. Economic development, including potential industrial activities, is viewed as appropriate and acceptable in this zone and will generally be supported.

As the culmination of several joint provincial and Tahltan initiatives in the Klappan, the Klappan Plan contents have undergone extensive stakeholder and community engagement.

Additionally, the B.C./Tahltan Klappan Decision-Making and Management Board will be responsible for plan implementation and monitoring. After the first year of implementation, the board may also develop consensus recommendations for additional pilot projects and initiatives within the Klappan Plan area.

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