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B.C. government, First Nations reach deal to reopen Joffre Lakes park

VICTORIA — The popular Joffre Lakes Provincial Park east of Pemberton, B.C., will reopen Monday after an agreement between the provincial government and the two local First Nations that had stopped visitors in August.

The Lil’wat and N’Quatqua nations prevented public access to the park while their members harvested and gathered resources in the territory.

The park, with its turquoise lakes and jagged, snow-capped mountains, has been so popular that the province had to start issuing day passes to manage the number of visitors, a system that will continue until Oct. 9.

The park will be closed Sept. 30 on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to allow the nations to gather on the land.

Lil’wat acting Chief Chris Wells says they appreciate the attention given to the matter by the B.C. government, and the nation will continue to ensure the park is being used in a manner consistent with its values and those of its ancestors.

The First Nations and the province have agreed to hold regular discussions into next spring to develop a plan for access to the park, its management and cultural protection during camping and recreation seasons.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2023.

The Canadian Press