Conservation that Protects First Nations Values

Coastal First Nations communities are working to collaboratively plan for and manage 130 land conservancies in our Territories.

These areas give First Nations the right to continue traditional practices, such as harvesting cedar, hunting and fishing.

They allow for conservation-based activities – wildlife viewing, guided-fishing and small-scale hydro for tourism and local use.

Conservancies came into being in 2006 when Coastal First Nations negotiated a change to the provincial Parks Act – the first of its kind in British Columbia. Areas that were once parks in our Territories became ‘conservancies’ giving priority to First Nations’ interests.

Conservancies now protect village sites, mortuary poles, burial sites and stone fish-weirs. They also safeguard traditional practices by protecting places where we harvest seaweed, salmon and roe-on-kelp.

Spirit Bear Adventures: Ecotourism in the Great Bear

The Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy

The Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy is one of the first established in our Territories.

It’s also the largest of 10 conservancies protecting habitat for the rare white ‘Spirit Bear’ – a mammal found only in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Scientists consider this magnificent white bear to be a genetic variation of the black bear. The Kitasoo/Xai’xais people – who have lived with these bears for millennia – have given it the name Spirit Bear.

About 120 white bears live in this land of stunning fjords, rugged coastline and towering cedar forests.  It covers 103-thousand hectares of Kitasoo/Xai’xais territory on the south end of Princess Royal Island.

The conservancy was achieved through the efforts of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais and other groups to protect bears from logging and hunting. Now it provides opportunities for ecotourism.

Spirit Bear Lodge is a community business based in Klemtu village on BC’s Central Coast. Since 2002, visitors from around the world have traveled here to experience wildlife tours with local Kitasoo guides.

c̓ísḷa: Taking Care of Kvai (Koeye) Conservancy

The Kvai (Koeye) Conservancy

The Koeye Conservancy is located on the Central Coast in the traditional territories of the Heiltsuk, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv Nations. The conservancy was created in 2006 and covers 18,752 hectares. It supports a significant grizzly and salmon ecosystem.

Learn more about the Kvai (Koeye) Conservancy