A group of Tahltan Elders have set up a roadblock on Highway 51 between Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek to limit moose hunting in their territory.
It’s in response to what Tahltan band chief councillor Terri Brown says amounts to unregulated hunting on Tahltan traditional territory.
“Hunters come into our territory and just kill as many moose as they want,” said Brown. “It’s not OK. We have been concerned that too many people come here to hunt moose without a proper understanding of our territory. It’s a big issue for us because we have one of the longest hunting seasons in the province.”
At the moment, there are only two provincial conservation officers for the area.
“There are so many reasons why we need to keep hunting under control,” said Brown. “We have culture camps up there at the moment with kids playing and learning about traditional hunting practices and we want them to be safe. But we also need to control the situation to protect our environment and our traditions for today, for our children and for our grandchildren.”
Highway 51 is considered a provincial highway but the Tahltan are saying it is a private road and not within the authority of the province.
“With immediate effect, the Tahltan are asking members of the public wishing to traverse the road to obtain permission from the band. All members of the public that do not receive permission may be stopped, particularly non-Tahltan hunters, from trespassing on Tahltan reserve lands and using the road,” a Tahltan press release issued this morning states.
Earlier this month, the Tahltan Band announced it was banning heavy vehicles from using Hwy51 without first getting permission from the band. It cited safety concerns as the reason.
The roadblock is the second one to be erected on Tahltan traditional territory within two weeks.
On Aug. 8, another group of Tahltan blocked access to the Red Chris mine which is owned by Imperial Metals and which is nearly ready to open.
The group says it’s worried about how safe the Red Chris tailings pond will be in light of the failure of the Mount Polley copper mine’s tailings pond in the Cariboo.
Mount Polley is also owned by Imperial Metals.