Photo submitted                                Chief Joe Alphonse, TNG tribal chairman, stands in front of a sign where the Tsilhqot’in have deactivated the Raven Lake Road off of Highway 20 in an attempt to stop the moose hunt this fall.

Photo submitted Chief Joe Alphonse, TNG tribal chairman, stands in front of a sign where the Tsilhqot’in have deactivated the Raven Lake Road off of Highway 20 in an attempt to stop the moose hunt this fall.

First Nations block roads to stop the moose hunt in B.C.’s Interior

Chief Joe Alphonse confirmed Thursday they’ve deactivated the Raven Lake Road and the Mackin Creek Road just before the Island Lake turnoff

First Nations in B.C.’s Interior are making a political statement by deactivating some forestry roads in an effort to stop the fall’s moose hunt in the Chilcotin.

“This is about moose,” said Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG), as he confirmed they have deactivated the Raven Lake Road, Mackin Creek Road just before the Island Lake turnoff and past Tautri Lake.

Currently there are no LEHs slated to start in the area until Oct. 15 due to new government restrictions, however, First Nations hunters can hunt all season long legally.

“We just want the moose hunters to back off — that’s even for our own hunters,” Alphonse said.

Talks between the provincial government and TNG fell apart last month after the ministry announced restrictions to several limited-entry moose hunts in the Chilcotin this fall.

Alphonse said he doesn’t believe they were involved enough on the decision-making level.

Read more: Government announces restrictions to Chilcotin moose hunts this fall

“These road blocks are our answer to them if they want to impose decisions on us,” he said. “We are the First Nation that has Aboriginal title and they have to come to terms with that. We don’t want to be in this situation, but when push comes to shove and we are backed into a corner, we feel we have no other choice.”

Sgt. Trevor Romanchych of the Alexis RCMP confirmed Thursday morning police are aware of the road blocks and are making patrols to ensure everyone is safe. There have been a few hunters and travellers stuck behind the blockades, however, they have been let out.

The road closure is an attempt to close the route from Rudy Johnson Bridge to Quesnel, Alphonse said.

When asked why he felt he had the right to close a public road, Alphonse’s response was quick.

“I don’t own them and I didn’t ask for them to be built in our area.”

Alphonse said if the response is heavy against them they will go a step further and not only build ditches across the roads, they will pull plows down the logging roads so they can never be used again.

The action comes after four years of trying to stop the moose hunt, he said, additionally the TNG have been fighting in court the proposed New Prosperity Mine exploratory drilling in recent weeks.

Read more: Court of appeal grants injunction on Taseko’s exploratory drilling in B.C. Interior

“Last year it escalated because of the 2017 fires and even then the government wanted to run a regular moose hunt. They should put out a prize for whoever shoots the last moose in the Chilcotin.”

The rights and title area does not include the area where the roads have been deactivated, however, Alphonse said because they are a nation that has proven title the Tsilhqot’in will have more chance of proving title in other areas.

“We are trying to work within the system, but we want to be heard. If we are not heard then we will push even harder.”

It’s not an issue about logging and any of the other users, it’s solely about protecting moose, he said.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has been out in the area trying to ensure the containment of cattle on grazing leases.

It is expected the province will be making a statement on the issue on Thursday.

“I’m probably getting more conflict from my own members about the closures,” Alphonse said. “Everyone wants to point the finger over here and over there, but we have a crisis. The moose populations are declining at a rapid pace. We need to manage based on science and data.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jon Bonneschranz retired from the Prince Rupert Fire Rescue Department at the end of April after 22 years of service to the city. He was also one of three firefighters honoured with the department’s first life-saving award. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of our City – Jon Bonneschranz, fighting fish to fighting fires

Retiring Captain Jon Bonneschranz hangs up his helmet after 22 years

Sheila McDonald coordinator at the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre Association said on May 6th, the new fridge purchased with $5,000 from the BC Maritime Employers Association will help sustain the Better at Home Food Assistance program. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre Association chills out with $5,000 donation

BC Maritime Employers Association uses Seniors’ Centre for training purposes

A Prince Rupert man fled after being placed under arrest on April 28. The incident caused an elementary school and local residents to be warned to stay inside. (File photo)
Wanted Prince Rupert man flees after arrest – later apprehended

Local school and residents told to stay inside during pursuit of man wanted from 2019 gun incident

As the BC CDC reports on May 5 declining pandemic numbers and only one case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert, the vehicles parked outside the local testing center also decrease. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert COVID-19 numbers down again

Second outbreak at Acropolis declared over

Northern Health Authority is requesting local residents to refrain from attending the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital unless necessary, as some services have been affected by a fire on May 5. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Fire at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital creates a reduction in services

Northern Health is asking residents to not attend hospital unless necessary

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read