New plan addresses Joffre Lakes Park high usage
Stewards from Líl̓wat and N̓Quatqua helping maintain park and promote their Nations’ culture
An initial plan for increased public safety and environmental protection at Joffre Lakes Parks has been finalized. The plan was undertaken last January when Líl̓wat Chiefs and Council appointed a team of Councillors and Lands and Resources Department staff to collaborate with BC Parks and N̓Quatqua to address what is becoming known worldwide as “over-tourism.”
The first step of this combined effort is the 25-page Joffre Lakes Park 2019 Visitor Use Management Action Plan. The centerpiece of the plan is a set of detailed strategies and actions to ensure the appropriate use of the park. The goals of the Action Plan include addressing illegal parking and safety concerns with park access, protecting biological diversity and the natural environment, effectively managing day-use visitation and celebrating First Nations culture throughout the park.
“The Action Plan is just an initial step in what we intend to be a long term-process and working relationship between Líl̓wat, N̓Quatqua and BC Parks,” says Harriet Van Wart, Director of Lands and Resources. “We will continue to work collaboratively with N̓Quatqua and BC Parks to address the on-going issues at Joffre Lakes Park and do our best to manage the high visitor use.”
Since 2010 there has been a 168% increase in people coming to Joffre Lakes Park. The impact of this growth has included much more road traffic, unsafe highway parking, and garbage degrading the environment. Helping people gain awareness of these and other issues facing the park are two local First Nations’ stewards. The stewards, from Líl̓wat and N̓Quatqua, work with park rangers to help maintain the park while explaining about their Territory and promoting their Nations’ culture.
“We are very excited that stewards from Líl̓wat and N̓Quatqua have been hired for the season,” says Van Wart.
To support these initiatives, Líl̓wat Nation has also created a brochure and short video to inform park users about Lil̓wat Territory and asking people to respect the land and employ “leave-no-trace” practices while out on the land. To view the video, click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm3U9eKha74&feature=youtu.be