|Volume 1 - Resource Management
Chapter 4 - Recreation Management
Policy 4.3 - Wilderness Management
Effective Date: 01-June-96
This policy covers the research, inventory, planning (allocation), management, and use of wilderness resources on B.C.'s public forest lands, which include all provincial forest lands and all other provincial Crown lands outside parks and settled areas, such as non-municipal and rural settlements.
The Ministry of Forest's wilderness policy is fully outlined in Managing Wilderness in Provincial Forests: A Policy Framework. The following represents policy highlights.
Wilderness is an area of land generally greater than 1,000 hectares that predominantly retains its natural character. It is an area where human impact is transitory, minor, and in the long run, substantially unnoticeable.
Overall Policy Framework
Purpose: The Ministry of Forest's wilderness program will maintain and protect a wilderness resource in relation to other uses of provincial forests, and provide maximum benefits to the citizens of British Columbia (Forest Act, s.2, 3, 4, 6).
Objectives: Ministry wilderness objectives are:
Planning: Wilderness planning will be carried out in the context of land use planning and according to the following steps:
Wilderness resources may be protected in provincial forests through designation as a wilderness area, or by zoning for wilderness values in integrated resource management (IRM) plans.
Specific Policy Issues
Public Involvement: Existing policy and procedures on public involvement will be applied to the wilderness program. Resource users and the public will be consulted in preparing wilderness policy and plans.
Coordination: The Ministry will work cooperatively with other agencies and groups on wilderness research, inventory, planning, and management in order to encourage coordination among the numerous wilderness programs.
Distribution: The Ministry will:
Mining: The Ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, will regulate how mining activities occur in wilderness areas ( Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act, s.2).
Forest Industry: The Ministry will consider the impact of wilderness designation on the forest industry by ensuring that any decisions regarding wilderness are made only after a full assessment of all resource values, including timber values.
Access Management: The Ministry will manage access to wilderness by:
Commercial and Public Use: Commercial and public recreational use of wilderness will be allowed provided that the levels and types of use are consistent with wilderness management objectives.
Fire and Forest Health: Fire and forest health management strategies will be established in each wilderness management plan. These strategies will address carrying out fire and forest health management activities (including tree cutting and salvage operations) if public safety or adjacent commercial forests are threatened, or if such actions are in the public interest.
Fish and Wildlife Management: The Ministry will cooperate with other agencies, particularly the Ministry of Environment, to:
Range Management: A range management strategy will be established in each wilderness management plan and allow range management activities provided they are consistent with wilderness.
Cultural and Heritage Values: The Ministry will cooperate with other agencies, particularly the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture to identify and manage cultural and heritage values in wilderness areas.
Information and Education: The Ministry will work cooperatively with other agencies and groups to develop information and education programs on wilderness to help manage use and inform and educate users.
Liability: Due to the inherent risk of wilderness travel, the Ministry will: