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Sea to Sky Innovators

2023-03-01

Sea-to-Sky Visitor Use Management Framework

Disruptive Innovators Guided by Shared Values 

 

THE CHALLENGE: Since the expansion of the Sea-to-Sky Highway in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, recreational use in the region has dramatically increased compared to any other region in BC. Recreational overuse damages ecosystems, impacts lands with significant Indigenous cultural and traditional use values, undermines the quality of recreational experiences and negatively impacts local communities. Joffre Lakes, a popular hiking destination just outside Pemberton, is a good example of the impacts of overuse.

THE CHANGE MAKERS: To address the issue, the Province of BC worked on a government-to-government basis with Squamish Nation, Lil’wat Nation, and N’Quatqua Nation to collaboratively engage local governments, recreational interests, and members of the public. The intention was to find solutions that integrate consideration of multiple values and balance access demands with the capacity of recreational lands and the need to protect them for both current and future generations.

THE OUTCOMES: This work featured the creation of a made-in-BC Visitor Use Management Framework (VUMF) that identifies shared values; incorporates Indigenous knowledge systems alongside Western scientific knowledge;  considers past and future recreation experiences in this unique and beautiful region; and provides guidelines, including environmental protection measures to better inform recreational land use decision-making. The VUMF has four main components: 1) Build the Foundation, 2) Define Visitor Use Management Direction, 3) Identify Management Strategies, and 4) Implement, Monitor, Evaluate and Adjust.

Using an ethical space approach to meeting design, the Fraser Basin Council facilitated the development of the Visitor Use Management Frameworks (VUMFs) for Meager and Keyhole Hotsprings and for Hawint/Tenquille Lake. A VUMF is currently under development for the Shannon Basin, applying the same approach that helps to provide a reasonable level of public access while prioritizing long-term ecosystem health and protection of Indigenous culture and traditional use values.

 

Photo Credit: John Hawkings

Photo Description: Members of the Sea-to-Sky Visitor Use Management Framework development team hike to Tenquille Lake to celebrate the creation of the framework and connect with the lands these collaborative efforts are protecting.

SOURCES:  Sea to Sky Visitor Use Management