General Guidelines for Forest Licensees and Natural Resource Stakeholders

Management of impacts to protected archaeological resources is a legislated requirement in British Columbia. Companies engaged in natural resource extraction must take steps to identify protected archaeological sites that will be directly or indirectly disturbed by operational activities and manage these impacts by commissioning archaeological studies that will assess and mitigate these impacts.

The Archaeology Branch has developed an Archaeological Resource Management Handbook for Foresters  Adobe Acrobat Required [103kb] to aid in planning for and avoiding or managing impacts to protected archaeological sites. The handbook contains information on:

  • a definition of archaeological sites and their relationship to cultural heritage resources regulated by the Forest and Range Practices Act;
  • the Provincial legislation and administrative framework in place to manage archaeological resources;
  • recommended archaeological planning studies to identify areas of archaeological sensitivity;
  • required field work to operate in an area containing archaeological sites;
  • necessary permitting to operate within a protected archaeological site;
  • steps to take when archaeological sites are accidentally damaged; and,
  • qualifications to look for when engaging an archaeologist specializing in resource management.

Information concerning the location of protected archaeological sites, and in some areas of the province, mapping showing where unrecorded, protected archaeological sites are likely to occur, is available if you make a data request to the branch.

Any alterations within a protected archaeological site will require a Site Alteration Permit; applications should be submitted to and the P&A Supervisor should be cc'ed. Permits issued after March 1, 2016 are subject to the Archaeology Branch Mapping and Shapefile Requirements. A guide specific to Section 12 applications can be found here.

Non-permitted site alterations should be reported to the Archaeology Branch. Branch staff will work with you to assess and mitigate the damage.

Non-permitted preliminary field reconnaissance studies should be conducted in accordance with Best Practices for Recording Results of Non-permitted Preliminary Field Reconnaissance (PFR) Studies. Adobe Acrobat Required [37kb]