Public Access, Roads and Rights of Way
 

Though the Nisga’a will own their land in fee simple, they have agreed that the public will have access to Nisga’a Public Lands for non-commercial and recreational purposes including hunting and fishing. The public will enjoy as good or better access to most Nisga’a Public Lands as currently allowed to most provincial Crown land.
 

The public continues to have unimpeded access on provincial roads within the boundaries of Nisga’a Lands. Any person who has private property or other interests, such as traplines or woodlots within Nisga’a Lands, has guaranteed access.
 

Access

Under the Final Agreement, the public will continue to have access to Nisga’a Public Lands for non-commercial and recreational uses, including hunting and fishing. Nisga’a Public Lands are lands other than village or private lands.

The public will have unimpeded access on provincial roads within Nisga’a Lands. Any person who has private property or other interests such as traplines or wood lots within Nisga’a Lands will be guaranteed access to those interests.

The Nisga’a may regulate public access to Nisga’a Public Lands only for the same reasons that licencees and lease holders are able to limit access to Crown land: public safety, the prevention of nuisance or damage, the protection of sensitive habitat areas or cultural and historic sites, and the prevention of harvest or extraction of Nisga’a resources, such as trees and mushrooms.

Provincial and federal officials will have access to Nisga’a Lands to carry out responsibilities including delivery of services, law enforcement, national defence and emergency response.
 
 
Roads

The existing provincial highway connecting the Nass Valley to Terrace will continue to be owned and maintained by the provincial government and used by thousands of Nisga’a and non-Nisga’a visitors to the Nass Valley.

In addition, but outside the treaty, British Columbia has agreed to accelerate upgrading and paving of the unpaved portion of the provincial highway from Terrace through the Nass Valley. British Columbia will proceed with highway road improvements to provide year-round use and to further enhance economic development in the area.

Secondary provincial roads which provide public access to Nisga’a Lands or industrial access through Nisga’a Lands will also be retained by the Province as a perpetual and exclusive right of way.

Nisga’a Government will have responsibility for all other roads on Nisga’a Lands. Public access will be guaranteed on Nisga’a Village roads, subject to normal municipal-type regulation on use, such as load limits.
 

Rights of Way

Existing third-party rights of way on Nisga’a Lands will continue under tenures issued by the Nisga’a Government. This includes access to private property and existing public utility rights of way tenures.

Should the provincial government require additional rights of way on Nisga’a Lands for public purposes, it will be able to do so by paying fair compensation. The Nisga’a may not unreasonably withhold consent. If the B.C. government and the Nisga’a are unable to agree on compensation for additional rights of way, either party may refer the issue to binding arbitration.
 
 
Private Roads

Private property owners or third party interests who currently have untenured access to property or interests will receive a private road tenure from Nisga’a Government. Private property owners who do not currently have access may apply to the Nisga’a Government for a right of access. Nisga’a Government cannot unreasonably withhold consent to access, provided fair compensation is paid and conditions agreed upon.
 

For further information on this or other topics, contact:

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
Communications Branch
4th Floor, 908 Pandora Avenue
Victoria BC V8W 1X4
Telephone: 1-800-880-1022