CIT Analysis Area

The CIT analysis area includes the central basins of British Columbia's coast from Dixon Entrance and Portland Canal in the north, to Discovery Passage and Bute Inlet in the south, extending inland to the height of land. The area's 11 million hectares comprise:

Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands, the area covered by the Haida Gwaii/QCI LUP

  1 million ha
The area covered by the North Coast LRMP
  2 million ha
The area covered by the Central Coast LRMP
  5 million ha
Adjacent areas of the mainland and Vancouver Island to complete coverage of the coastal basins from Portland Inland to Queen Charlotte Sound and the waters north of the Strait of Georgia.
  3 million ha

The analysis area includes the world’s largest tracts of intact temperate rainforest, formerly abundant runs of Pacific salmon, and the northern or southern limits of many species. Several endemic species of plants, birds, and small mammals and an endemic subspecies of black bear occur on Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands. An unusual white form of the black bear—the Kermode or Spirit bear—lives primarily on Princess Royal Island.

The analysis area includes the traditional territories of 26 First Nations (aboriginal peoples) in four linguistic groups: Haida, Coast Tsimshian, Heiltsuk-Wuikala, Coast Salish, and Kwakwala. The total aboriginal population is about 26,000: 11,000 on reserve; 15,000 off reserve (some in the region, others in metropolitan centres in the south). Other communities in the region have a total population of about 90,000. Only three have populations greater than 10,000 (Prince Rupert and Kitimat on the mainland, and Campbell River on Vancouver Island).

Historically, the economy in the CIT analysis area has been dominated by logging, fishing, and mining activities. At present, the public sector is the largest employer, economic opportunities are limited, and unemployment levels are high.

The mining sector has been dormant in the CIT area for over a decade, with no active metallic mines and little exploration currently underway. Uncertainty surrounds the development of minerals, while exploitation of offshore oil and gas is currently barred by a moratorium.

Fish and marine invertebrate stocks reduced by past fishing and other factors have resulted in reduced fishing and employment opportunities, though fishing still plays a major role in the subsistence economy. Emphasis is increasingly shifting to the emerging aquaculture sector, which has become a player in the regional economy.

The forest industry faces challenges due to the softwood lumber dispute with the United States (its main market) as well as a high Canadian dollar, increased international competition, and stocks drawn down by past harvesting. Consequently, forest sector employment levels have dropped greatly from their peak in the 1970s and 80s. The forest industry also faces increased local and international pressure to sell eco-certified forest products.

Many foods gathered from the land and ocean for local consumption contribute to local economic wellbeing, though they do not enter the marketplace. Commercial mushroom harvesting for export is locally important and provides seasonal employment.

Commercial tourism is below its potential but generally increasing as visitors are drawn to the area's globally significant ecosystems, dramatic coastlines, and rugged landscapes. Future economic development is hampered by limited infrastructure, remoteness, lack of capacity, and inadequate access to capital and markets.

Historically, a relatively small proportion of the benefits from developing the region's natural resources have flowed to local First Nations and communities. If ecosystem-based management is successfully implemented, the people living in the central and north coasts and Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands will have a greater share of the benefits from local resource use.

First Nations in the region assert their aboriginal rights and title, which are acknowledged by the Canadian constitution and federal and provincial governments but (except for the Nisga’a) have yet to be translated into treaty settlements. Pending resolution of outstanding land issues, several Nations are preparing their own land use plans, either independently or as part of interim measures agreements with the Provincial Government.

Three major land use and resource management planning processes were underway when the CIT was established: the Central Coast LRMP, North Coast LRMP, and the Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands LUP. Their purpose was to enable all parties—the Provincial Government, First Nations, and a variety of stakeholders (local communities and governments, forestry, environment, tourism, mining, recreation, labour, small business, fishing, and others)—to reach agreement on those lands and resources to be protected and those to be developed, where, and how. The Central and North Coast processes were managed by the Provincial Government. The Central Coast process completed in December, 2003. The North Coast process completed at the end of March, 2004. The Haida Gwaii/QCI process is managed jointly by the Provincial Government and the Council of the Haida Nation, and was still underway when the CIT was dissolved at the end of March, 2004. Several First Nations land use planning processes were also still underway.


CIT Analysis Subregions