The Ahousaht Tribe issued a press release on Oct. 28, 2015 to provide notice to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations and area operators that they no longer want to see large-scale forestry occur within the traditional territory of Ahousaht.
“We must now sit down with all levels of government and find a solution that creates a truly prosperous sustainable future for our people,” stated Hawiih Tlaakiishwia, John Keitlah, in the recent press release.
CEO of Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) Trevor Jones says the moratorium on industrial logging should come as no surprise to the Crown and industry stakeholders.
“The existing license holders recognize it’s becoming increasingly constraint; very difficult to access larger volumes and larger cut blocks. Really, I think its a natural juncture, if you will, to look at a lighter approach with less focus on volume and more focus on value,” Jones said.
Thinking long term, Jones believes there is an opportunity to create more jobs and a sustainable community through a range of other economic developments, with a particular emphasis on ecotourism.
“We’ve recently opened a hostel and campground on Meares Island called Lone Cone. This would be an example of the type of development the Nation would be looking to replicate in other parts of the Ahousaht.”
He went on to tell the Westerly News that plans to build a destination First Nations cultural resort is already underway.
“We’re in the midst of working with some consultants in developing that business plan. It’s on land that we already have management access to. It would just be a matter of proving the viability, getting a sense of scale, and then partnering to build it.”
Jones also stated that the Ahousaht are exploring different species that could be cultured, including the potential construction of a shellfish farm and pacific salmon hatchery.