Muskwa-Kechika Management Area

In 1997, the Fort St. John and Fort Nelson Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) recommended that the Muskwa-Kechika be formally designated as a separate jurisdiction to ensure its wilderness characteristics, wildlife and habitat are maintained over time while allowing resource development and use, including recreation, hunting, timber harvesting, mineral exploration and mining, oil and gas exploration and development. Government accepted these recommendations and the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area and Management Plan were approved by an Order-In-Council (OIC) under the Environment and Land Use Act later that year.

In 1999, the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act was enacted. In 2000, government approved the Mackenzie LRMP, which included a recommendation to expand the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, increasing the total area by approximately 50%. In 2001, the act was amended to include this addition. In 2002, the Muskwa-Kechika Management Plan originally approved by OIC was made a regulation under the act.

The Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act provides legal direction for land use and resource management within the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area. 

The Muskwa-Kechika Management Plan Regulation provides general management intent for the area, and specifies direction for resource management zones within the Fort St. John and Fort Nelson LRMP areas. The regulation does not include specific direction for resource management zones within the Mackenzie LRMP area because the Muskwa-Kechika Management Plan pre-dated approval of the Mackenzie LRMP. Note that the regulation refers to the following schedules in the Muskwa-Kechika Management Order (Order-In-Council 1997-1367) - effective Dec 11, 1997:

The Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act requires establishing landscape unit objectives prior to approval of forest stewardship plans. Objectives have been established for the following landscape units in the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area:

The Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act requires pre-tenure planning for oil and gas exploration and development prior to the disposition of petroleum and natural gas rights in the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area. Pre-tenure plans have been approved for five areas: Upper Sikanni, Halfway-Graham,  Muskwa West, Besa Prophet, and Sulphur / 8 Mile.

Pre-tenure plans do not set management direction for geophysical activities. Direction for geophysical activities with the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area is provided by the Oil and Gas Commission.

The Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act requires approval of a recreation management plan prior to approval of commercial backcountry recreation tenures within the area. A recreation management plan for the original area, (prior to the MacKenzie Addition), was approved in 2001. A plan for the entire Muskwa-Kechika Management Area was developed in 2005, but was not formally approved.

The Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Act specifies that wildlife management and allocation be consistent with the wildlife management plan. A wildlife management plan was developed for the entire Muskwa-Kechika Management Area. The plan consists of two parts. The strategic document presents wildlife outcomes for which the B.C. government has responsibility. The technical manual, which supports the strategic document, provides comprehensive management direction for technical personnel responsible for implementation.  The strategic document was legally enacted by ministerial order in 2009.

The integration of management activities within the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, especially those related to road access, is central to achieving the general management intent. Motorized vehicle access has been managed within the Muskwa-Kechika area since 1994, originally under the Muskwa-Kechika Access Management Regulation pursuant to the Wildlife Act. In 2003, this regulation was repealed and replaced with the Public Access Prohibition Regulation.