Tsilhqot'in say mushroom picking permit system worked well

The Tsilhqot'in National Government is lauding a successful 2018 mushroom picking season after setting up a permitting system for buyers and pickers traversing terrain burned during last year’s fire season.

“In general, the health and safety of pickers and harvesters was ensured with camps kept clean and an adequate response to issues of safety,” stated a press release from the Tsilhqot'in Nation. “The economic benefits of this project should also be noted with local contracts being awarded for outhouses and garbage bins, along with numerous Tsilhqot'in members both buying and harvesting mushrooms this season.”

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In addition to the permitting, and following recommendations by the Tsilhqot'in Nation, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development enacted a Land Act closure of specific culturally and biologically sensitive areas to mushroom harvesting within the territory.

Education, compliance and enforcement was also done in partnership with the Tsilhqot'in Nation compliance, education and enforcement officers, conservation officers, natural resource officers and RCMP.

“The management of the mushroom season was a step in the right direction,” said Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman, of the Tsilhqot'in National Government said in the release. “Post Tsilhqot'in decision, the provincial and federal government need to work with us. The collaboration we saw during the mushroom season was a prime example of how effective management of resources can occur.”

The project provided economic benefits with many Tsilhqot'in members seeing a small increase to household incomes, the release goes on to state. Members were also able to provide feedback on what was happening on the land to ensure the harvest was a safe place for everyone.

Six First Nations — Skeetchestn, Bonaparte, Clinton, Tk’emlups, Pavilion and High Bar — also began selling permits to pickers, buyers and campers around the Elephant Hill wildfire area near Ashcroft this year.

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