Photo submitted Chief Joe Alphonse, TNG tribal chairman, stands in front of a sign where the Tsilhqot’in have deactivated the Raven Lake Road off of Highway 20 in an attempt to stop the moose hunt this fall.

First Nations block roads to stop the moose hunt in B.C.’s Interior

Chief Joe Alphonse confirmed Thursday they’ve deactivated the Raven Lake Road and the Mackin Creek Road just before the Island Lake turnoff

First Nations in B.C.’s Interior are making a political statement by deactivating some forestry roads in an effort to stop the fall’s moose hunt in the Chilcotin.

“This is about moose,” said Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG), as he confirmed they have deactivated the Raven Lake Road, Mackin Creek Road just before the Island Lake turnoff and past Tautri Lake.

Currently there are no LEHs slated to start in the area until Oct. 15 due to new government restrictions, however, First Nations hunters can hunt all season long legally.

“We just want the moose hunters to back off — that’s even for our own hunters,” Alphonse said.

Talks between the provincial government and TNG fell apart last month after the ministry announced restrictions to several limited-entry moose hunts in the Chilcotin this fall.

Alphonse said he doesn’t believe they were involved enough on the decision-making level.

Read more: Government announces restrictions to Chilcotin moose hunts this fall

“These road blocks are our answer to them if they want to impose decisions on us,” he said. “We are the First Nation that has Aboriginal title and they have to come to terms with that. We don’t want to be in this situation, but when push comes to shove and we are backed into a corner, we feel we have no other choice.”

Sgt. Trevor Romanchych of the Alexis RCMP confirmed Thursday morning police are aware of the road blocks and are making patrols to ensure everyone is safe. There have been a few hunters and travellers stuck behind the blockades, however, they have been let out.

The road closure is an attempt to close the route from Rudy Johnson Bridge to Quesnel, Alphonse said.

When asked why he felt he had the right to close a public road, Alphonse’s response was quick.

“I don’t own them and I didn’t ask for them to be built in our area.”

Alphonse said if the response is heavy against them they will go a step further and not only build ditches across the roads, they will pull plows down the logging roads so they can never be used again.

The action comes after four years of trying to stop the moose hunt, he said, additionally the TNG have been fighting in court the proposed New Prosperity Mine exploratory drilling in recent weeks.

Read more: Court of appeal grants injunction on Taseko’s exploratory drilling in B.C. Interior

“Last year it escalated because of the 2017 fires and even then the government wanted to run a regular moose hunt. They should put out a prize for whoever shoots the last moose in the Chilcotin.”

The rights and title area does not include the area where the roads have been deactivated, however, Alphonse said because they are a nation that has proven title the Tsilhqot’in will have more chance of proving title in other areas.

“We are trying to work within the system, but we want to be heard. If we are not heard then we will push even harder.”

It’s not an issue about logging and any of the other users, it’s solely about protecting moose, he said.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has been out in the area trying to ensure the containment of cattle on grazing leases.

It is expected the province will be making a statement on the issue on Thursday.

“I’m probably getting more conflict from my own members about the closures,” Alphonse said. “Everyone wants to point the finger over here and over there, but we have a crisis. The moose populations are declining at a rapid pace. We need to manage based on science and data.”

Just Posted

Update: Fire extinguished in roof of Salmon Arm retirement residence

Residents being moved back to their apartments in Lakeside Manor from regional district building

Majority of North Okanagan-Shuswap school buildings in poor condition

School District #83 superintendent says facilities report can be used to apply for needed funding

Owner of popular Salmon Arm taco stand must apply to reopen

Fans of Rosa’s Taco Stand alarmed by city accepting proposals for lease of park concession

Re-elected North Okanagan-Shuswap MP plans to be more effective in second term

Mel Arnold says he learned a lot in first term, established contacts in riding and in Ottawa

Student enrolment for 2019/20 exceeds School District #83 projections

Increase attributed to more people moving into the North Okanagan-Shuswap

Raptors Bling: NBA champions receive their rings in pre-game ceremony

There are over 650 diamonds — at a weight of 14 carats — in the 14-karat yellow gold ring

‘Find Trevor’: B.C. man’s dog leads searchers to rescue him after fall during hike

‘I’ve had lots of intelligent dogs, but Purple is in a class herself’

15 Canadian youths to sue Ottawa for not acting on climate change

They say young people will be more affected than other groups

Baldy Mountain Resort establishes fuel break to protect from future wildfires

The project was made possible thanks to funding from the FESBC

Faster response may have prevented fatal outcome at B.C. trampoline park

Coroner’s report rules Greater Victoria father Jay Greenwood’s death accidental

Greta Thunberg declines invitation to Victoria due to time, not ferry emissions

Thunberg confirmed that she will be joining a climate strike at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday

‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

The idea is getting interest from people in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of British Columbia

Feds decriminalizing drugs possible if Jagmeet Singh pushes for it, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

Most Read