Welcome to the North Coast District

About the District

The North Coast District is located within the coastal temperate rainforest and includes some of the most picturesque wilderness in British Columbia.  It is characterized by steep, rugged terrain and numerous narrow inlets. From Princess Royal Island in the south to the Cambria Icefield in the north the district is approximately 400 kilometres long by 90 kilometres wide.
The climate for most of the year is influenced by a low pressure system which develops off the west coast. There are on average, 1,408 hours of sunlight and greater than 250 centimetres (98 inches) of precipitation per year, resulting in the coastal rain forest climate.
The 2006 Socio-Economic Assessment report describes the socio-economic profile for the North Coast Timber Supply Area (TSA). Briefly, the key sources of employment within the North Coast TSA include: the public sector (40 per cent); forestry (19 per cent); tourism (17 per cent); fishing / trapping (16 per cent); construction, agriculture / food and other sources (8 per cent). Forestry is still important to the current economy despite mill closures and associated population decreases.


District Fast Facts

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.

crow2.jpgThere 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 pacific yew.

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 province.

A Closer Look at the North Coast District

opmap_tn.jpgThe 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.

kermode.jpgIn 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, MFR

First Nations

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.


Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) Information

For Information on Forest Stewardship Plans (FSP) please review the information located at this link:  https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/code/


Some other useful information:

         Sample FSP Cover Letter

         Check List for Expectation/Information Sharing Meeting

         FN Consultation Process Map




The following link provides information on land-use planning in the North Coast District:

North Coast District is part of the Coast Land Use Decision

Central and North Coast EBM Implementation

Timber Supply Review

  • is a decision-making process for Tree Farm Licence and Timber Supply Area Annual Allowable Cut determinations made by the Chief Forester on a maximum five-year cycle, as required under section 8 of the Forest Act. It is not a process for making land-use or management decisions.
  • incorporates the best information available including all relevant current practices, and identifies where new information is needed
  • measures the output of implemented plans and decisions, and provides a benchmark for future planning processes
  • involves other agencies, affected groups, and the public.

The timber supply for each Timber Supply Area (TSA) and Tree Farm Licence (TFL) in the Province is reviewed at least once every five years.

The following webpage provides additional information on the Timber Supply Review process:

North Coast District Timber Supply Area Information


Major Licensee Zones  

Effective November 6, 2007, and before taking into account a reduction that will remain in effect for as long as part of the TSA is a “designated area” under Part 13 of the Forest Act, the Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) for the North Coast TSA is 494,000 cubic metres per year. This represents a reduction of 79,624 cubic metres or approximately 14 per cent from the previous AAC. The AAC includes a partition of 48,000 cubic metres attributed to that portion of the TSA that is situated north of the Nass River.

By way of a separate Order issued under authority of Section 173 of the Forest Act, the Chief Forester stipulated that the AAC is reduced by 94,000 cubic metres beginning on November 6, 2007 and lasting for as long as those areas remain a “designated area” under Part 13 of the Forest Act.  

The district's 400,000 cubic metre AAC is divided into 4 Forest Licences (FL):  
  • British Columbia Timber Sales
  • International Forest Products
  • Triumph Timber Ltd
  • Sonora Logging Ltd.

The remaining AAC is apportioned to Forest Service Reserve. In addition Western Forest Products has a portion of their Tree Farm Licence 25 in the North Coast covered under Block 5.  
An additional non AAC contributing tenure is the Lax Kw'alaams Tribal Resources Ltd Non-Replaceable Forest Licence with a harvest rate of 22,000 m3/year.

The rugged terrain along the North Coast makes for difficult and very expensive road construction. Harvesting operations are done by hand felling trees and extracting them with the use of  helicopters or cable yarding systems.  The timber is then unloaded into the ocean where it is towed or loaded on to log barges and transported to the Licensee's wood processing facility.

These operating areas are often isolated, creating a transportation challenge to the Forest Service staff in charge of monitoring the "Forest and Range Practices Act".  All travel in the North Coast is done by float plane, helicopter or by water using the Forest Service's boat the Coast Ranger.


Fire Information




District Map  

2 district map



Other Useful Links


Forest Education Sites

         Tree Book

         Ministry of Forests Library

         Common Tree Diseases of British Columbia - brought to you by the Pacific Forestry Centre

         Forest Practices Publications

Other Useful Information

         B.C. Archives Homepage provides useful historical information

         Canada Postal Service

Travel Links

         B.C. Ferries Homepage

         VIA  Rail

         Alaska Marine Highway (Ferry System)

         Ministry of Transportation and Highways




North Coast District
Kalum District
#200 - 5220 Keith Avenue
Terrace, BC  V8G 1L1
Telephone:  (250) 638-5100
Facsimile:   (250) 638-5176