Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA)

Gwaxdlala Nalaxdlala


Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA)

On November 29th, 2021, the Mamalilikulla First Nation declared the Gwaxdlala/Nalaxdlala (Lull Bay/Hoeya Sound) area of Knight Inlet, on the British Columbia Central Coast, an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA).  Based on the 2018 Indigenous Circle of Experts’ Report titled “We Rise Together”, the Mamalilikulla’s goals for its IPCA are a collaborative governance approach to:

a) Protect, restore, and maintain unique habitat and culturally significant species;
b) Protect, restore, and maintain MFN cultural connection to the land, sea, and sky;
c) Provide ecosystem management-based economic opportunities for community benefit;
d) Protect and maintain MFN food security;
e) Protect important archaeological and cultural sites; and
f) Incorporate integrated, holistic approaches in IPCA planning and management.

The 10,416-hectare IPCA includes both land and marine components.  The land portion contains 3 watersheds that are currently managed under the Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order, and the 2,123 hectare marine area is proposed as a new site in the draft network of Marine Protected Areas in the Northern Shelf Bioregion.

The journey to reach the IPCA Declaration involved countless hours of community member meetings, compiling background documents, commissioning new studies, and developing marine and watershed management plans for the area. On May 5th, 2022 we celebrated our Declaration by holding an on-site Community Dedication Ceremony. At the Dedication, elected and hereditary leaders, elders, singers and dancers and guests including neighbouring First Nation chiefs came together to acknowledge and celebrate our commitment to restoring and maintaining our connection to the land, the sea, the sky, and the supernatural Ones.

In February 2023, the marine portion of the IPCA was formally recognized as the first marine refuge designated in the Northern Shelf Bioregion Marine Protected Areas Network planning process.

IPCA Information Video

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