Tahltan Guardians Clements Brace and Jarett Quock post COVID-19 Restrictions at the southern border of Tahltan Territory. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

Tahltan Guardians Clements Brace and Jarett Quock post COVID-19 Restrictions at the southern border of Tahltan Territory. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

Tahltan Nation closes hunting and recreational activity access points

The remote and vulnerable territory has limited medical capacity

Isolated in the vast wilderness of northwestern B.C., the Tahltan Nation is stepping up enforcement of its non-essential travel ban.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tahltan Central Government (TCG) has been asking everyone — including hunters and their own off-territory people — to refrain from travelling into their territory as the nearest hospital is approximately 600 kilometres away.

In a press release this morning, the TCG announced it will now be blocking hunting and recreational activity access points with gates, which will be monitored, including with video surveillance.

The territory includes the Tahltan communities of Dease Lake, Iskut and Telegraph Creek.

Tahltan Central Government president Chad Norman Day said until the province works with the Nation to ensure that people can be properly medevaced in the case of a medical emergency, more people shouldn’t be allowed into the territory.

“One of those issues became real just a couple of weeks ago, which really scared us,” Day said.

Read More: Efforts by B.C. First Nations to keep COVID-19 rates low are working, says health officials

When a medevac could not fly into Dease Lake in a timely manner to transport an elder who had broken a leg at a fish camp, Day said the elder’s family hastily drove through the night to Prince Rupert so the elder could have emergency surgery in the morning.

“This kind of thing actually happens quite often, unfortunately,” he said, noting there is no capacity to medevac more than one person at a time, and there is no functional pharmacy in the territory.

With Highway 37 being a corridor into Alaska and attracting large amounts of traffic from British Columbians, Yukoners, Alaskans and Americans, Day added a COVID-19 outbreak could spell disaster in the territory because of its limited medical capacity.

Read More: Health officials urge long weekend safety as B.C. sees 23 new COVID-19 cases, one death

“It’s been a bit disappointing. There’s been a lot of our own urban members that have been coming into the territory as well that we respectfully asked not to do, but we don’t have the enforcement capabilities to do much else other than the local governments deciding to put up gates and that’s their prerogative.”

Day said the shutdown will impact up to 12 access points, and that there would have been more had it not been for natural events including the devastating 2018 wildfires around Telegraph Creek that burned some bridges that would normally be used by Tahltan, resident hunters and industry. Recreational activities are strongly discouraged north of Bob Quinn, including hunting regions 6-19 to 6-26, he noted.

The Klappan Road has also been washed out by the Klappan River and landslides.

Read More: Tahltan ask visitors to stay away from their territory during COVID-19

Day said the TCG is working with the province to get additional RCMP and conservation officer support.

The Tahltan territory will be patrolled by the TCG’s wildlife department and guardians, who will be asking all visitors to follow appropriate procedures or leave if they choose to ignore the advisory prohibiting travel to visitors.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusFirst Nations

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

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at editor@wltribune.com
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read