The B.C. Government is hoping to preserve the ecosystem of the Ancient Forest, designating it as an official protected area.
The announcement means the province will participate in consultations surrounding the size, boundaries and kinds of activities allowed in the area. It may take on the title of a park or a conservancy. Whatever the designation, it will allow for an application for international recognition.
“Becoming a World Heritage Site requires that the area first has a high level of protection, either as a provincial or national park,” says Darwyn Coxson, a professor of ecosystems science and management at UNBC. “It’s a long process, but today was an important first step on that road.”
Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dominic Frederick says the decision is a long time coming.
“Protecting this part of the land is important to [the Lheidli T’enneh] because we also say we are protectors of the land,” says Frederick.
The inland rainforest 120 km east of Prince George is home to towering red cedars over one thousand years old. It is said to be one of the world’s only inland rain forests.