When the K’aas Gandlaay area is included in the Duu Guusd Heritage Site and Conservancy, as agreed to by the Haida Nation and the Province, it will add 1,202 hectares to the more than half-million hectares of upland and foreshore area already protected on the Islands. These areas, including the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, Gantla Gadaas Pure Lake and Naay Kun Naikoon Provincial Parks, five Ecological Reserves, and 11 Protected Areas, cover more than 52% of the archipelago.
When the boundaries for Duu Guusd were established in 2008, Kaas Gandlaay, an area of high cultural value, was considered for inclusion but outstanding issues had not been resolved. At the time, Husby Forest Products was active in the area and had already made an investment towards road development. Through negotiation, the Haida Nation reached an agreement with Husby to cease activity around Kaas Gandlaay, but that occurred after the establishment of the Duu Guusd protected area.
In the years since, the Haida and provincial governments have agreed that Kaas Gandlaay should be included within the protected area of Duu Guusd. In the interim, the provincial government established a forest reserve in the area to provide protection until Kaas Gandlaay could be designated as part of Duu Guusd. Following that, the HGMC sent a letter to the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, requesting that the boundaries of Duu Guusd be amended to include Kaas Gandlaay. The Haida Nation and the province have now agreed on technical aspects of the boundary and the Province is prepared to seek a legislative amendment to the Duu Guusd Haida Heritage Site and Conservancy to include the Kaas Gandlaay area.
The Haida Gwaii Management Council is responsible for developing policies and standards for the identification and conservation of heritage sites, and for the approval and amendment of management plans for protected areas. Protected areas, which are jointly managed by the Haida Nation and the Province, are important as cultural, social, ecological and spiritual sites. They include permanent and seasonal village sites, places for the collection of food and medicine, trade and potlatching sites, and areas containing biologically diverse habitat for endangered and at-risk plants and animals.
The Haida and provincial governments are currently in the process of setting priorities for updating management plans for the protected areas, which are formally recognized by the Haida Nation as Haida Heritage Sites and by the Province of British Columbia as Conservancies. Each management plan establishes the vision, long-term strategic direction, guidance, and acceptable uses of the area; ensures that any activities are respectful of the natural values and not in conflict with Haida social, ceremonial and cultural uses; ensures protection for lands and seas in their natural state; describes the background and legal context of the area; and, manages visitor use. The governments are updating the plans to ensure that the objectives and strategies of each plan are in line with the recently developed Haida Gwaii Marine Plan. Once the HGMC approves the new or amended Protected Area Management Plans they become legal documents under the Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act.
The Haida Gwaii Management Council is responsible for approving plans for:
Haida Heritage Sites & Conservancies:
- Duu Guusd
- Kuuna Gwaay
- Nang Xaldangaas
- SGay Taw Siiwaay Kadjuu
- Yaaguun Gandlaay
- Yaaguun Suu
- Drizzle Lake Ecological Reserve
- Lepas Bay Ecological Reserve
- Rose Spit Ecological Reserve
- Tow Hill Ecological Reserve
- Vladimir J. Krajina Ecological Reserve
and, Provincial Parks:
- Naay Kun Naikoon Provincial Park
- Gantla Gadaas Pure Lake Provincial Park