Coastal Guardian Program
An Initiative Developed to Monitor the Kitasoo/Xai'xais Traditional Lands and WatersEach summer, visitors travel from Canada, the USA and the world to visit the beautiful central coast region of BC and the Great Bear Rainforest. Whether with an organized tour or traveling on their own, each person has an impact on the eco-system that must be managed in a sustainable way.
The Kitasoo have developed environmental protocols, identified and protected areas and implemented eco-based management philosophies into any extractive or non-extractive resource plans. With such a large territory, visitors, tourism operators and industries that conduct business within the territory can go unmonitored for days and weeks. While the majority of the users abide by the guidelines set out in the various agreements and independent travelers treat the territory and its natural resources with respect, there is still a need to monitor the activities taking place on land and in the marine environment.
The Watchmen Program (also called Coastal Guardian) is an initiative that was developed by BC Coastal First Nation Communities to control and participate in a stewardship and monitoring of their traditional lands and waters. This program is a mechanism for the Kitasoo to ensure that the activities and practices within their territory are consistent with community plans and government regulations.
The Kitasoo Watchmen Program was implemented in 2003 and currently employs two, full-time, seasonal band members. They travel by boat through the territory in the spring and summer months.
A vision for the Watchmen Program, which is part of the Coastal Guardian Network (CGN) has been written and it is in the Kitasoo follow the guidelines and aim to reach the goals set out by the CGN. They are as follows:
- Monitor and report on activities related to a variety of resource activities
- Have the authority to carry out compliance and enforcement
- Integrate cultural values
- Work cooperatively with neighboring Nations
- Be functional year round with adequate staff
- Be well supported politically and financially
- Be involved in outreach and education
- Be supported by a comprehensive and regionally based training program