"Nature is critical to our survival: nature provides us with our oxygen, regulates our weather patterns, pollinates our crops, produces our food, feed and fibre. But it is under increasing stress. Human activity has altered almost 75 per cent of the earth’s surface, squeezing wildlife and nature into an ever-smaller corner of the planet.
Around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction – many within decades – according to the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service. The report called for transformative changes to restore and protect nature. It found that the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever, affecting the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.
Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Forests are vitally important for sustaining life on Earth, and play a major role in the fight against climate change. And investing in land restoration is critical for improving livelihoods, reducing vulnerabilities, and reducing risks for the economy." - UN Sustainable Development Goal / Biodiversity
The Kitasoo/Xai’xais Stewardship Authority operates the Guardian Watchmen program and partners with Spirit Bear Research Foundation in various research projects.The KXSA also manages tourism operators, works with forestry operations, monitors salmon returns, operates a language revitalization program and ultimately stewards KX territory for the generations to come through the use of traditional ecological knowledge. Spirit Bear Lodge donates annually to KXSA and assists with stewardship initiatives whenever possible.
In 2000 the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation released their Land and Resource Protection and Management Plan (land use plan), one of the first of its kind developed by a First Nation in British Columbia. The expectation of the land use plan is that there will be meaningful consultation and co-management between the Kitasoo/Xai’xais, other governments, and industry, before any development takes place, or efforts to plan or manage Kitasoo/Xai’xais lands or resources.
The stated objectives of the land use plan are to provide for:
Sustainable and stable Kitasoo/Xai’xais communities
The social development of Kitasoo/Xai’xais families and individuals
The spiritual and cultural integrity of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais way of life
The protection and enhancement of the environment
Economic self-reliance in employment for Kitasoo/Xai’xais people and revenue to Kitasoo/Xai’xais government
The land use plan provides detailed management objectives for each of the protected areas established throughout the territory. The stated primary objective of these protected areas is “protection of fish, wildlife, cultural and biodiversity values.” Low-impact tourism is allowed in the protected areas and the Kitasoo/Xai’xais can continue to hunt and fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes. However, no timber harvesting, mining or other resource extraction can take place in protected areas.
Building on the land use plan, the Kitasoo/Xai’xais worked with other governments and stakeholders to develop the Central Coast Land and Resource Management Plan (CCLRMP), and negotiated and agreed to a Strategic Land Use Planning Agreement with the Province of British Columbia in 2006, which provided for a collaborative implementation of the land use planning agreements in the Kitasoo/Xai’xais territory.
The summer of 2020 brought about big changes in our world and for the community of Klemtu and Spirit Bear Lodge it meant no visitors to ensure the safety of the community. When life gives you lemons, they say!
This article speaks to the resilience and incredible committment to protecting the Kitasoo/Xai'xais territory:
Spirit Bear Research Foundation works with the KXSA and Raincoast Conservation Foundation to complete research projects in KX territory. With a major focus on bears, salmon, and endangered species Spirit Bear Research Foundation helps the KXSA make land use decisions based on science. Spirit Bear Lodge will provide logistical support when needed and donates annually to SBRF.