The Tsilhqot’in communities of Yunesit’in, Xeni Gwet’in, and Tl’esqox (Toosey) have united with the St’át’imc Nation to close the South Chilcotin to industrial logging. The area of specific concern is the Red Mountain – Churn Creek corridor where there are dozens of mule deer migration trails, integral to the annual migration between the Fraser River and South Chilcotin Park. Tolko’s logging has left a five kilometre-wide corridor “un-roaded,” and it is essential that this area be left intact, reads a press statement.
“There has been far too much extraction of wood out of this territory,” said Chief Francis Lacesse of Toosey. [Tolko] continues to push further into the back country. They have not obtained our consent for this level of activity; so we are stopping it.”
“When I was 10-12 years old in the 1940s, I remember the relations between the St’át’imc and the Tsilhqot’in were good – based on trading and the management of this shared area… It is good to see we are working closely together again; We are stronger when we work together,” said St’át’imc Elder Albert Joseph.
Chief Michelle Edwards, chair of the Lillooet Tribal Council, said the First Nations have been trying to work with Tolko, “they seem indifferent to the fact they are harvesting right on top of this sensitive area. These trails are important to the deer’s annual migration. And they are important to us as St’át’imc, as deer is our second largest source of protein, after salmon. We are fighting for a corridor five kilometres wide and 25 kilometres long. It’s not too much to ask.”