Regional Land and Resource plans were developed by Government with input from stakeholders in the 1990’s and were to be implemented for 10 years, then revisited in their entirety and updated. At the time when the LRMPs were ready for implementation, a new government took office and developed a new strategy for land and resource management. This new strategy lacks high-level coordination of all resource users. The 2016 Evergreen Stewardship Plans are designed to restore unified management and promote a healthy balance between social, ecological, and environmental values in the process of land and resource use.
Mike Morris, MLA of Prince George-MacKenzie and parliamentary secretary to the FLNRO, released a report in 2015 which shows that stewardship is at an all-time low. His report makes it clear that government staff is over-loaded and cannot monitor and measure the results of seral development over time. This is an opportunity for “harnessing the wisdom, talent and expertise of BC wildlife practitioners in wildlife/habitat management,” as recommended by Morris. Guide outfitters embrace this strategic advice made to the minister of forests. The following is an excerpt from Morris’ report Getting the balance right: Improving wildlife habitat management in British Columbia:
Many tenure and non-tenure holders as well as First Nations across the province have decades of intimate knowledge of the particular spatial area that their tenures cover, often spatial areas where they have fished, hunted, and resided. These unique individuals possess knowledge that will enhance the ability of government to accurately assess habitat, wildlife populations, and environmental changes associated to resource development and natural disturbances like forest fires and flooding.
The entire review by Mike Morris can be found here.
Guide outfitters are committed to taking some of the load off government staff by taking responsibility for the stewardship balance in their areas; the implementation has already started with the 2016 Evergreen Stewardship Plans.
Guide Outfitter’s live the nomadic hunter-gatherer life style, carrying on the same traditions since the beginning of man. Guide Outfitters in British Columbia guided the first international tourists around 1850 before Canada was a country. The Tourism industry has grown since then to encompass many different activities, and still Guide Outfitting is at the core, providing the most intimate connection with wilderness and nature. The Guide Outfitter’s Association of BC (GOABC) says “Guide outfitters are the founders of the tourism industry and an important part of the outdoor stewardship and heritage of BC.” In fact, GOABC has published an on-going series called The Stewardship Series that uses workshops with a variety of wildlife practitioners to address wildlife management. They currently have an episode each for Stone’s Sheep, Moose, Woodland Caribou, and Mountain Goat. Guide Outfitter’s intimate knowledge of wilderness, nature, and the plants and animals which reside in it, put them at the forefront for knowing when nature’s balance is upset. Guide Outfitters are the perpetual eyes and ears on the ground, listening to nature’s balance.
Our goal is to promote natural resource use today in a way that maintains and improves the health of the fish and wildlife habitat for future generations. We do this through advocating for natural resource use that increases wildlife populations to the carrying capacities of their fully developed habitats in a way that keeps the balance between ecological, economical and social values.
The Stewardship Foundation operates on three levels:
- High level – Collection, coordination and assembling of all relevant data/research/knowledge, such as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, in one place and then dissemination of it out for ‘on the ground’ action
- Mid level – Stewardship plans for regions and sub-regions
- These are evolving plans that are updated as our understanding and knowledge improves, new issues arise, and advances are made
- The direction within each plan reflects the balance joint ecological, economic and social values
- All those involved in resource use/management have the opportunity to contribute invaluable information regarding their tenures or areas of use
- Low level on the ground – Implementing research projects and using the results of the research to determine and implement action required to achieve our goal
We are taking a leadership role to tie together all 3 levels of stewardship to benefit wildlife and their habitat. Our efforts are organized in a way that connects research to high level planning to engage ‘on the ground’ activity.
Every action and project undertaken by WSF is governed by a set of principles that ensure us that we are following our high-level overarching goal. This goal is to create and implement high level management plans that will return and maintain wildlife populations at the carrying capacities of their habitats while balancing social, environmental and economic values. The following are our guiding principles:
- No personal opinions or judgements shall direct our actions
- All management directions constructed in the Evergreen Stewardship Plans are made based on legitimate data from one or more of the following sources:
- Published policies from government, industry and other groups
- Scientific research
- Traditional Knowledge from wildlife practitioners
- Direction from past LRMPs
- We hold groups accountable to their own published policies that have been incorporated into the Evergreen Stewardship Plans
- All decisions promote a balance between social, economic and environmental values
- All on-the-ground, implementation work is directed and reinforced by the Evergreen Stewardship Plans