The North Coast TSA is located in northwest British Columbia, within the Coast Forest Region.
The North Coast TSA is bordered to the west across Hecate Strait in the Pacific Ocean by the Queen Charlottes TSA;
to the south by the Mid Coast TSA; to the southeast by Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 25, Block 5 (partly within the Northern
Interior Forest Region); to the east by the Nisga’a Treaty Lands, as well as the Nass and
Kalum TSAs and TFLs 1 & 41 (within the Northern Interior Forest Region). The North Coast area is about half the
size of Vancouver Island.
There are a number of parks in and adjacent to the TSA, including Tweedsmuir
Provincial Park to the south and Khutzeymateen Provincial Park northeast of Prince
Rupert. In 2006, the BC Government supported the conservancies as determined through
the North Coast and Central Coast Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP)
processes and government-to-government negotiations.
The North Coast TSA is administered from the Ministry of Forests and Range
joint North Coast and Kalum Forest District office located in the City of
Terrace. Communities within the TSA include the City of Prince Rupert, District of Port Edward, Dodge Cove, Port
Simpson, and the villages of Gingolix, Lakalzap, Metlakatla, Oona River, Kitkatla,
Hartley Bay and Kitsault. Data from the 2004 Statistics Canada survey indicated the
population in the North Coast TSA at 17,269 persons. Approximately 87 percent of the
population is concentrated in the City of Prince Rupert.
Work Channel - photo by Bob Cuthbert, MFR
The North Coast TSA encompasses a diverse area, ranging from the Hecate lowlands to
the Kitimat Ranges within the Coast Mountains. The TSA contains three biogeoclimatic
zones. The majority of the land base lies in the lower elevation coastal western hemlock
zone, and is characterized by high rainfall, cool summers and mild winters. The
mountain hemlock zone occupies the mid- to upper-elevation forested areas. The alpine
tundra zone lies at high elevations and is characterized by clumps of trees interspersed
with alpine tundra.
The major tree species in the North Coast TSA are western hemlock, western red cedar,
amabilis fir (balsam), sitka spruce and yellow cedar. Minor tree species include shore
pine (a variant of lodgepole pine), red alder, black cottonwood, mountain hemlock and
The diverse forests provide habitat for many wildlife species, including grizzly and
black bear, black-tailed deer, wolf, mountain goat, moose, wolverine, fisher, porcupine,
and numerous species of birds. The ocean inlets provide a rich marine environment that
includes habitat for whales and salmon species.
Recreational opportunities are abundant in the North Coast area. Visitors from
all over North America and Europe come to the North Coast for halibut and salmon
fishing, pleasure boating, sea-kayaking and wildlife viewing, hunting, camping,
hiking and scuba-diving.
The North Coast has a number of transportation links with Prince Rupert being
the administrative hub of the region and the terminus for both the Alaska Ferry
(from Ketchikan) and BC Ferries, from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and
Skidegate in the Queen Charlotte Islands. Prince Rupert also has an airport
(located on Digby Island) and is the western terminus for the CN Railway. VIA
Rail provides service to and from Jasper, Alberta, three times a week, with an
overnight stay in Prince George. The Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) connects
Prince Rupert with Terrace, Smithers, Prince George and the rest of the
A Closer Look at the North Coast District
North Coast Forest District stretches from Klemtu in the south to near Stewart
in the north and is approximately 400 kilometers long by 90 kilometres wide. It
is characterized by steep, rugged terrain and numerous narrow inlets.
This map gives a snapshot of the available forest for harvesting in the North
Coast Forest District. Approximately 8% of the North Coast Forest District is considered
operable or available for logging over a 100 year rotation.
Maps like this, created from digital topographic data and inventory information,
are being used in ongoing Land and Resource Management Plans throughout the
province. Comprehensive and current inventories of resource use are essential
for this process.
How is the Land Being Used?
The North Coast TSA
The North Coast Timber Supply Area (TSA) covers 1,830,883 hectares, of which,
approximately 8 per cent or 145,808 hectares is classified as the
timber harvesting land base. The remainder of the land base is
considered non-productive, inoperable, or unavailable for timber
harvesting for various reasons. We manage
this land for many uses, including recreation, timber, and
wilderness, and, in cooperation with other agencies, for water,
fish, wildlife, tourism, heritage, and minerals.
In the southern portion of the North Coast Forest District, on Princess Royal
Island, there is a resident Black Bear population with a unique appearance. A
genetic mutation, occurring within this population, produces a white color
variation in the fur. Hence, this coastal Black Bear will have individuals with
white colored coats. These bears are not albino but merely Black bears with
white fur. Since the bears were seldom seen by the public over the years, they
have often been called “ghost bears” or “spirit bears”.
The scientific name is Ursus Americanus Kermodei, or Kermode Bear, after past
director of the Royal British Columbia Museum, Frank Kermode.
Kermode Bear - Photo by Kevin Hill,
The majority of the North Coast TSA is within the traditional territories
of the Tsimshian First Nations, of which, four of seven villages, the Kitkatla, Hartley
Bay, Metlakatla, and Lax Kw’alaams First Nations are inside the district boundary. Of
the other three villages, Klemtu is just south of the district boundary, and Kitsumkalum
and Kitselas are up stream on the Skeena River. The Haisla First Nation also has
traditional territory within the TSA. The Heiltsuk and Gitanyow have also claimed
traditional interests within this TSA. With the implementation of the Nisga’a Final
Agreement, Nisga’a Treaty Lands have been transferred out of the North Coast TSA.
The Kitkatla, Hartley Bay, Metlakatla, and Lax Kw’alaams First Nations have signed
Forest and Range Agreements (FRAs). Metlakatla First Nation has a non-renewable forest licence
(NRFL) as terms of their FRA, and the other First Nations are to be
awarded NRFLs in the near future, with associated volume for timber coming from the
North Coast TSA.