The move is hailed as a groundbreaking example of how competing land interests can be balanced. It ends a decade-long battle among environmentalists, industry, First Nations people and government.
From the CBC story:
[The protected areas] cover 1.2 million hectares, where habitat conservation, maintaining biodiversity, and the preservation of special landscape, recreation and cultural heritage features are a priority. That brings the total protected to 1.8 million hectares.This is exciting and encouraging news.
The new areas include one of the largest intact temperate rainforests in the world, home to the Kermode or Spirit Bear, a black bear with white fur.
"The agreement reached on these areas represents an unprecedented collaboration between First Nations, industry, environmentalists, local governments and many other stakeholders in how we manage the vast richness of B.C.'s coast," [B.C. Premier Gordon] Campbell said in a statement.
The protected areas are part of the 6.4-million-hectare region of B.C.'s central and north coast, where the province on Tuesday outlined zoning plans for land and resource management.
The deal covers a vast area of B.C.'s central coastal forest that environmentalists have dubbed the Great Bear Rainforest, and the north coast forest.
In some smaller areas, called biodiversity areas, limited economic development is allowed.
In the largest sections, dubbed ecosystem-based management operating areas, environmentally sensitive economic development that benefits local communities will be allowed. These areas, where there could be work like helicopter logging, account for about two-thirds of the total 6.4 million hectares.
Here's a press release about the agreement from environmental action groups, via Common Dreams.