The following overview addresses commonly asked questions about access to Nisga'a Lands.
Q: What are Nisga’a Public Lands?
A: All Nisga'a Lands fall into one of three categories. Nisga'a Lisims Government has the authority to designate Nisga'a Lands as Nisga'a Village Lands or Nisga'a Private Lands. Any Nisga'a Lands that are not designated as one of the above are Nisga'a Public Lands.
Q: What are the rules governing public access to Nisga’a Public Lands for recreation?
A: The Nisga'a Nation allows reasonable public access to Nisga'a Public Lands for temporary non-commercial and recreational uses. This public access does not include the ability to harvest resources, cause damage, or interfere with other uses authorized by Nisga'a Lisims Government. Nisga'a Lisims Government can regulate the public access to protect public safety, protect sensitive areas and prevent resource harvesting.
Q: Does the public have an opportunity to hunt and fish on Nisga’a Public Lands?
A: Yes. The Nisga'a Nation provides reasonable opportunities for the public to hunt and fish on Nisga'a Public Lands. The Annual Management Plan under the Wildlife Chapter specifies the level of this harvest. In order to monitor and regulate public access for hunting and fishing, Nisga'a Lisims Government can require the public to obtain a Nisga'a permit or license.
Q: How will the public know the rules about access onto Nisga’a Public Lands?
A: Nisga'a Lisims Government and British Columbia will notify the public about the terms and conditions of public access onto Nisga'a Public Lands. If Nisga'a Lisims Government proposes to change the locations or boundaries of Nisga'a Public Lands, it will give notice to British Columbia and Canada. It will also will take reasonable steps to notify the public, and will consider the views advanced by any individual who would be adversely affected by the proposed change. If Nisga'a Lisims Government designates Nisga'a Village Lands or Nisga'a Private Lands in (a way that would prevent public access to a place where there is a public right of access, such as certain lakes, rivers, or Crown roads, Nisga'a Lisims Government will provide reasonable alternative public access to that area or location.
Q: Does the Treaty affect public rights of access on lakes and rivers?
A: No. The Treaty does not affect public rights of access on navigable waters.
Q: Can federal and provincial government representatives come onto Nisga’a Lands?
A: Yes, to carry out the terms of the Treaty, to deliver and manage programs and services, to carry out inspections, to enforce laws, and to respond to emergencies, in accordance with the laws of general application. Canada and British Columbia will give the Nisga'a Nation reasonable notice of their access.
Q: Will Nisga’a have reasonable access to Crown Lands?
A: Yes. Nisga'a citizens will have reasonable access to Crown lands, including rivers, lakes and highways, to exercise treaty rights and interests. This access includes incidental resource use, such as using firewood while hunting. This access cannot interfere with other authorized uses of Crown lands, or the ability of the Crown to dispose of Crown land. However, if an authorized use or disposition of Crown land would deny Nisga'a citizens reasonable access or use of resources, the Crown will ensure that alternative reasonable access is provided.
Q: What about access to fee simple properties?
A: There are several private fee simple parcels within Nisga'a Lands that currently do not have an access road. If the owner of one of these parcels reasonably requires a right of access, Nisga'a Government may not unreasonably withhold consent. However, the owner must offer fair compensation and the terms of access must be agreed. Similarly, if Nisga'a Government or a Nisga'a citizen reasonably requires access to a parcel of Nisga'a Fee Simple Lands outside Nisga'a Lands, British Columbia may not unreasonably withhold consent. Nisga'a Government or the Nisga'a citizen must offer fair compensation and the terms of access must be agreed. In either case, if agreement cannot be reached, the matter can be settled by arbitration under the Dispute Resolution Chapter.
For information about access to Nisga’a Lands outside Nisga’a Villages, contact: Directorate of Lands & Resources at Tel: 250 633 3000.