The Hupacasath First Nation have exclusively owned, used and occupied the land, waters and resources as outlined on the map in Figure 1 of this plan since time immemorial. Their traditional territory is on central Vancouver Island and includes the town of Port Alberni. The land encompasses the headwaters of the Ash and Elsie River systems in the northwest, east to the height of land on the Beaufort Range and then southeast to Mount Arrowsmith to Labour Day Lake and the Cameron river system. The southeast boundary includes the China Creek, Franklin River, Corrigan Creek Areas and the north part of the Coleman Creek Area. The southern boundary follows Alberni Inlet to Handy creek then northwest to follow the height of land between Henderson Lake and Nahmint Lake. The west boundary includes the headwaters of the Sproat Lake and Great Central lake Areas. This territory also includes major physical features such as Great Central and Sproat Lakes, Mount Arrowsmith, Thunder Mountain and Mount Klitsa.
The Hupacasath First Nation have a claim to all the sea resources with the Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound and offshore as exercised traditionally through to today.. The Hupacasath were sea-going people and utilized all sea resources down the inlet and through Barkley Sound and beyond. The Hupacasath recognize that other First Nations utilized these waters to exercise their rights and title and the Hupacasath are not claiming exclusive rights to this offshore area. The Hupacasath further recognize that other First Nations have exclusive rights to parts of these areas and will use protocol in asking permission before any harvesting of resources is done when it is another First Nation’s territory.
2.2 Land and Resources
The area of the Hupacasath territory is approximately 232,000 hectares plus their interest in the Barkley Sound and offshore. This territory, on the wetter west side of Vancouver Island contains some of the most valuable forest, fish and marine resources in the world. The predominantly on-land winds created by the warm offshore currents from the Pacific Ocean create a warm maritime climate with a summer dry period. This creates vast stands of Douglas fir, western red cedar, hemlock and balsam at lower elevations and yellow cedar and mountain hemlock along the mountain ridges.
The lakes and rivers contain all five species of Pacific salmon as well as steelhead and trout. Estuaries, forests and fields contain a wide variety of berries, shrubs, tubers, and grasses that are used by the Hupacasath as foods, medicines and traditionally for clothing, utensils and a wide variety of other uses. Wildlife abounds; there are deer, elk, bear, cougar, wolves and many other species that rely on the forests and water habitat. Ducks, geese, swans, grouse and numerous other bird species live and migrate through the Hupacasath territory.
The Hupacasath people have lived sustainably with these forests, fish and marine, wildlife and birds for many thousands of years. Since contact with Europeans, Hupacasath’s control over their lands and resources has diminished as has the volume and value of the fish, marine and forest resources within the territory. This Land Use Plan is one way the Hupacasath will regain control over their land and resources based on sustainable resource management principles. The following is a list of the maps that can be accessed at the Hupacasath administration offices (some may not be available for viewing based on confidential information.
Figure 3: List of Land and Resource Maps
Map 1 – Base Map Map 10 – Wind Sites
Map 2 – Biogeoclimatic Zones Map 11 – Red Cedar
Map 3 – Salmon, Shellfish, Other Fish & Water Supply Map 12 – Yellow Cedar
Map 4 – Forestry, Gathering & Quarry Sites Map 13 – Age Class
Map 5 – Hunting & Trapping Map 14 – Dominant Species
Map 6 – Hupacasath History Map 15 – Site Index
Map 7 – Sacred & Spiritual Map 16 – Archaeology
Map 8 – Wildlife Areas Map 17 – Recreation & Tourism
Map 9 – Rare & Sensitive Species Map 18 – Land Ownership
Map 10 – Wind Sites
Map 11 – Red Cedar
Map 12 – Yellow Cedar
Map 13 – Age Class
Map 14 – Dominant Species
Map 15 – Site Index
Map 16 – Archaeology
Map 17 – Recreation & Tourism
Map 18 – Land Ownership
Map 19 – Management Objectives