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

Scammer targeting elderly in Kelowna with broken-down vehicle story

A door to door scammer is in Kelowna, targeting seniors according to Kelowna RCMP

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Okanagan volunteers reflect on building classrooms in Nepal

Through the charity Her International, the volunteer group built four classrooms

Cool Arts’ double header event features Lake Country artist

Celebration of artist Mark Mercer’s work to run alongside community art night in Kelowna.

Kelowna rallies around father of five after cancer diagnosis

Fundraisers are planned throughout November

Weekend weather update: Crisp and sunny

This weekend will see lots of sunshine and below season temperatures for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

$224.5 million announced for Highway 1 bridge replacement in Sicamous

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says bridge option will be announced next month

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Accident north of Vernon involves SUV and semi truck

Minor delays reported in Highway 97 crash

Ontario driver rolls car in Okanagan

Crash near Vernon follows reports of erratic driving

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Most Read