Course:FRST370/Land use negotiations and results between the Lil'wat Nation and the Province of British Columbia, Canada

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The Lil’wat First Nation is one of the immemorial nations in British Columbia, it is a member of the Lillooet Tribal Council, the largest grouping of band governments of Stl’atl’imx people. And in 2008, the Lil’wat First Nation partnered with the Squamish nation to open the Squamish Lil’wat cultural center in whistler. The Lil’wat nation has a rich history but was marred by the Indian Reserve system in the late 19th century. Many of the artifacts from Lil’wat nation are found back to 5,500 BC between Steub Valley to Bishop-Bridge and the lands in between. Today, the Lil’wat nation remains the importance of traditional crafts both economically and culturally.

The Lil’wat nation is located 7km east of Pemberton, with a driving distance two and half hours north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky highway. The nation land includes 797,131 hectares of traditional territory and extends south to the Rubble Creek, north to the Gates Lake, east to the Upper Stein Valley and the coastal inlets of the Pacific Ocean at the west.

From 2005 to 2010 the Lil’wat Nation and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia signed the “Lil’wat First Nation forest agreement.” This agreement is purposed to “increase the Lil' wat ‘s opportunity for participation in the forest sector; provide economic benefits to the Lil’wat through a forest tenure opportunity and the sharing of revenues received by the Government of British Columbia from forest resource development activities; to address consultation and to provide an interim workable accommodation as set out in this agreement; provide a period of stability to the forest and/or range resource development activities on Crown land within the traditional territory during the term of this agreement.”(N, A. 2005). During this agreement, the Government of British Columbia will pay the Lil’wat nation approximately $908,735 annually, and during the agreement duration, the licenses are applied to enter the forest. The agreement was signed by the chief and council of Lil’wat nation and the Minister of forests from the government of British Columbia in 2005.

Lil’wat traditional territory in a signed agreement

Tenure arrangements

The agreement was made because the Lil’wat nation deeply considered this land as their “home”, and the government of British Columbia considered this land as the crown land. This conflict facilitated the collaborative management strategy formed and carried out. During the duration of the agreement, the forest tenure granted rights to harvest Crown timber as defined in the forest Act. The Lil’wat nation responded to work cooperatively with the government of British Columbia, to work together for any issues or other forestry economic activities that may occur. Within the collaborative management, any application of the licenses, the Lil’wat nation will need to contact the ministry of forests and to identify the operating area for the licenses. The licenses are valid during this agreement, with no longer than 5 years, and contain other terms and conditions that are required by law and the regional manager. The Lil’wat nation is invited to apply for 18,000 cubic meters non-replaceable licenses in the Soo timber supply area, if the timber volume is available, each year the Lil’wat nation will be able to apply for up to 54,500 cubic meters in the Soo timber supply area. The government of British Columbia will pay the Lil’wat nation on an annual basis of approximately $908,735 for the economic benefits to the nation, and the payment will be made at the end of each quarter. Lil’wat nations have to agree and fully participate in this traditional territory development that is provided by the government of British Columbia. During the development, the Lil’wat nation will provide reasonably available information that may relate to any potential impacts that “occur as a result of proposed forest and /or range resource development activities within the traditional territory. ” (N, A. 2005). During the final decision, the government fully considered the information that is provided by the Lil’wat nation and whether the problem will be affected. The agreement is terminated on the date of the agreement was signed by both side's representatives and within five years. After the agreement duration, both sides could decide to sign a new agreement with the same conditions or adding new terms and conditions to the agreement.

Administrative arrangements

The institutional, administrative arrangements are described in the following paragraphs. The Collaborative Management of Protected Areas within the Lil’wat Nation’s territory was established in the British Columbia Land Use Planning Agreement. However, the definition of the “Collaborative Management Agreement” is an agreement between Lil’wat Nation and the Ministry of Environment in British Columbia, and the Lil’wat Nation would participate in the management of all current and future Protected Areas in their territory. The institution is the Ministry of Environment itself and they will negotiate and also attempt to reach a Collaborative Management Agreement with the Lil'wat Nations. It provides the protection of Lil'wat A7x7ūlḿecw (Spirited Ground) Areas that are located within Protected Areas; shared decision-making for Protected Areas; Lil’wat Nation participation in the implementation of management plans; Protection of Lil’wat Nation’s cultural values and interest in accordance with LLYP and Lil’wat Nation management goals; Opportunities for joint review, recommendations for Park Use Permits, ongoing Lil’wat Nation access to resources for aboriginal cultural and traditional purposes, and Lil’wat Nation participation in commercial recreational activities; Last but not least, Protected Areas, Wildland Zones, Cultural Management Areas, Ure Creek, Revenue sharing, Protocol for Land Use Decisions, and Implementation and Monitoring Arrangement are also a part of the agreements manual.

Anyhow, each site has its Specific Management Direction. For example, the parties will support the implementation and designation of Lil’wat A7x7ūlḿecw (Spirited Ground) Areas as described in Schedule G and according to management objectives which were established in Schedule H within the Site-Specific Management Direction; The province of British Columbia will implement the protective measures in the Schedule H and take all reasonable steps to make sure the conservation of those Spirtied Ground Areas. Qwalímak (Upper Birkenhead) Nt’ákmen Area, Skelulátkwa (Owl Creek) Cultural Education Area, Stewardship Areas, and Old Growth and Sensitive Ecosystems are also within the agreement manual. Nevertheless, resource development or management activities are also permitted in Cultural Management Areas in accordance with Schedule C (Management Direction for Strategic Land Use Zones). More importantly, these administrative arrangements must be agreed upon on both sides between the province of B.C and the Lil’wat Nation.

The Map of Lil’wat A7x7ūlḿecw (Spirited Ground) Areas.

Affected Stakeholders

According to the “Land use negotiations and results between the Lil'wat Nation and the Province of British Columbia” research, the Lil’ wat Nation has asserted that they held the rights to protecting and managing all the lands, resources, and waters within their territory for today and the future generations. They also have aboriginal title to and aboriginal rights throughout their territory. Lil’wat Nations’ rights have never been ceded, surrendered, or even abandoned. On the other hand, the government of B.C has also asserted that the lands, resources, and water within the Sea-to-Sky and Lillooet Land and Resource Management Plans Area, Crown lands, and Lillooet LRMP Area are subject to the sovereignty of Her Majesty the Queen and the legislative jurisdiction of the Province of British Columbia (LAND USE PLANNING AGREEMENT Between The LIL’WAT NATION And The PROVINCE of BRITISH COLUMBIA2008). Lil’wat Nation as part of the aboriginal people relies heavily on the resources that are provided from their lands and territories; Their foods, water, are and fishing are almost all coming from their land.

A Right holder controls the use of their exclusive rights and refers to a legal entity or person with exclusive rights over a protected trademark or a territory. In this case, the right holders and the affected stakeholder of the Lil’wat case study are the Lil’wat Nation itself and its aboriginal people; They have their rights to protect their land and hold meetings about how they can provide better services to their lands and cultures. However, the Lil’wat Nation uses a Community Land Use Plan to manage their forests within its territory and plan on expanding their community land project that decreases the impacts on aquatic habitat, etc.

The Map of Lil’wat Nation’s Territory.

Interested Outside Stakeholders

Interested stakeholder: RMOW

Stakeholders: BC parks, the government agency that oversees and manages conservancies, protected and recreational areas is one of the main interested stakeholders in the Lil’wat community. The Lil’wat community is partly managed and influenced by BC parks decisions. For example the Whistler Blackcomb Masters Development Agreement that was signed by the Lil’wat Nation, Squamish, and the Province ensures that new developments within Whistler will provide economical and social benefits to the Lil’wat Nation (2017).


The Lil'wat nations intention is to participate in meaningful decision making in regards to the Lil’wat territory (Andrew 2008). To manage and protect the 797,131 hectares of traditional territory was the main goal of the Lil’wat Nation. With the Land Use Planning Agreement between the Lil’wat Nation and the province of British Columbia; The Lil’wat nation was able to fulfill their participation desires in Lil’wat territory.

The land use planning agreement between the Lil’wat nation and the province of British Columbia results in surging success as after the agreement has been made the Lil’wat nation was able to form a Community council with a hierarchy of administrative authorities that oversees the functionality of the nation. In addition, the community council was also able to create a community land use plan.


The RMOW prioritizes the economic value of tourism which is provided by the recreational access of the CCF and those are related to the local support as protecting the watershed and viewsheds within their territory. However, the Lil’wat Nation has two important directors for CCF and that is Dean Nelson and Kerry Mehaffey. The government has conducted an agreement that provides more related job opportunities to the Lil’wat nation, it created the 5-year economic growth for the nation and job opportunities. The government has fully negotiated with the representatives to help and understand what is good for the land and forest.


Although there are a lot of arrangements and plans for the Lil’wat Nation, I would still recommend that the Lil’wat Nations should engage more in the social development for their community. While they take action to engage in those activities, I believe that there will be more and more “developers” such as donation parties will help the Lil’wat Nation to build better tourism places or set up culture-related classes within universities to let more people know the aboriginal people’s cultures and their values. Nevertheless, they can plant more fast-growing timber species to ensure the over-harvesting timber supply. When holding meetings, they should also hear more from their local residents, not only the ideas and plans of the top representatives should be listened to.



Lil’wat First Nation Forest Agreement. Retrieved December 08, 2020, from

N,A. (2019, June 07). History. Retrieved December 21, 2020, from

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This conservation resource was created by Course:FRST370.