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CPAWS-BC supports park plan that advances reconciliation and visitor experience

April 25, 2024

Today, BC Parks, Líl̓wat and N’Quatqua announced a partnership to balance access to the Pipi7íyekw / Joffre Lakes Park for visitors and First Nations this summer. This agreement will support visitor experience, healthy ecosystems and preserve the cultural connections of Líl̓wat and N’Quatqua to this spiritual place. 

“We know that supporting First Nations cultures is critical to maintaining and rebuilding ecological integrity. We are excited to see this agreement centre reconciliation and the values of Lil’wat Nation and N’Quatqua, aa well as outline a positive visitor management strategy to support people and the area’s ecosystems,” says Tori Ball, Conservation Director – Land and Fresh Water, Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society, British Columbia.

The agreement announced today comes after years of work by the province, Líl̓wat Nation and N’Quatqua, to improve visitor management in the region, which has seen a surge in outdoor recreation demand and visitor numbers. The abrupt closure of the area last fall resulted in public confusion and tensions for park visitors.

“We are happy to see this proactive planning between BC Parks, Líl̓wat Nation and N’Quatqua for Pipi7íyekw that supports First Nation connections to land and cultural practices and clear public communication to support appropriate public access to the area,” Ball continued. “This collaborative planning and decision-making is critical to reconciliation and the future of conservation and protected areas management.”

The joint park operational plan for 2024 includes three Pipi7íyekw Reconnection Celebration time periods:

  • April 30 to May 15, to support Indigenous-led cultural celebrations, including Stl’atl’imx Days – a celebration of the Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe on May 10, 1911. 
  • June 14 to 23, to support summer solstice and Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrations. 
  • September 3 to October 6, to support Indigenous fall harvesting practices and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

These closures will enable Líl̓wat Nation and N’Quatqua to reconnect with the land and carry out traditional, sustenance, cultural and spiritual practices. In addition to the multi-day closures, there will be a limit on the number of daily visitors through the free day-use pass system to support public safety and the natural values of the park.

Overcrowding can negatively affect both the local ecosystem and visitor experience, for example, through people going off-trail. Managing the daily visits is an important tool to support the area’s plants and wildlife, as well as visitor safety.

“Healthy and thriving ecosystems are critical to a healthy future for all. Respectful relationships and sustainable outdoor recreation is important for building up a culture of nature enthusiasts who continue to enjoy and care for nature for generations to come,” says Ball.

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Media Contact:
Max Winkelman
Communications Manager
604-685-7445 x3

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