Johnstone Strait Limits of Acceptable Change Pilot Project
Commercial backcountry tourism and public recreation are growing activities across British Columbia. The demand for opportunities for both commercially guided and individual recreation activities continues to increase, whether for wilderness hiking, backcountry skking, sea kayaking or many other activities. BC is working to support this growing demand and to double tourism by 2015. Public access to recreational areas and opportunities is also of fundamental importance to British Columbians.
As there is an increase in recreation use, it is necessary to ensure that we manage and protect the resources upon which these recreation opportunities depend – to protect the very experience that tourists are coming to enjoy into the future. This objective led the Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB) and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts (MOTCA)to cooperate on two pilot projects, one in Johnstone Strait and one in Golden/Windy Creek, to test the application of the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) methodology. The LAC methodology focuses on defining desired outcomes and managing recreation use impacts to maintain desired resource and social conditions.
Johnstone Strait Region
Johnstone Strait is located between the north east coast of Vancouver Island and the mainland coast of British Columbia. The strait is an active spot for whales and salmon in the summer months, attracting whale watchers and fishers alike. The main access point for Sea Kayakers to the strait is Telegraph Cove. Many extended kayaking trips are launched from the cove, with the peak season being in the months of July and August.
Why Johnstone Strait was Selected
The Johnstone Strait area was selected because of its reputation for sea kayaking and camping, associated with whale watching opportunities in the strait. Guided commercial trips and private sea kayaking trips take place in the area. The pilot project region is on Crown land, but a mixture of commercial operators with permits/tenure and private groups use the region for sea kayaking and camping purposes.
There is a rising concern that there is over usage of certain shorelines for campsites and that a system to better distribute sea kayaking campsites/trip planning is needed. The Johnstone Strait pilot provided a useful contrast to test Limits of Acceptable Change where there is relatively little guidance for water-based recreation/tourism in existing plans.
Johnstone Strait Project Objectives
- To develop management recommendations aimed at fostering the sustainability of environmental and social conditions desired for sea kayaking and associated whale watching and camping activities in the Johnstone Strait region;
- To test the utility of the Limits of Acceptable Change process in an area that is highly valued for its tourism and recreation opportunities, and where there is relatively little guidance for management of these activities in existing plans;
- To assess the usefulness of the process in creating management strategies for recreation and tourism in other areas of the province.
Who was Involved
The project's goal was to include all parties who have an interest in the region. A working group of government officials, academics, First Nations and stakeholders such as commercial and private sea kayak tour operators gathered together for the purposes of this project. It was of great importance that the project be respectful of First Nations values, interests and lands as the project region is within traditional First Nations territory.
- LAC Final Report - March 2008 [PDF]
- LAC Training Presentation - March 2008 [PPT]
- LAC Training Package - Version 1 [PDF]
- Johnstone Strait LAC Status Report March 2008 [PDF]
- Johnstone Strait LAC Status Report March 2008 Appendix 6 [PDF]
- Workshop #3 Summary [PDF]
- Workshop #2 Summary [PDF]
- Workshop #1 Summary [PDF]
- Project Backgrounder [PDF]
- Project Timeline [PDF]
- Map of Pilot region [PDF]
- North Island Straits Coastal Plan
- Vancouver Island Land Use Plan
- Coast Land Use Decision Implementation
- Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts
Johnstone Strait images courtesy of Ken Matheson
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