Takla Nation - Community Profile
Management respectfully acknowledging our Community Profile ~
Compliments of Chad Lantz, RFT- Nextech Forestry Services; Crissy Bennett, RPP, MCIP- Crissy Bennett & Associates; Marlene Flannery, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council [excerpts from Community Wildfire Protection Plan [CWPP 2013]
The Takla Nation is located approximately 195 km north of Fort St. James in British Columbia, Canada. The geographic coordinates are 55 degrees 29 minutes north latitude and 125 degrees 58 west longitude. The population of Takla Lake First Nation (TLFN), according to own source statistics, is approximately 750 members. Approximately half or 375 of the TLFN membership live in the community year-round. There are approximately 15 support workers who are non-status members also living in the community.
As a remote community, travel to Takla Lake is predominately on Forest Service Roads (FSR) which makes up approximately 140 kilometers of the route. The distance to the nearest town is the Fort St. James which is approximately 195 kilometers from Takla Lake and the nearest city is Prince George which is 370 kilometers away. Other modes of transportation are by helicopter and float plane. Boats are occasionally used along a chain of rivers and lakes from Fort St. James to Takla Lake. Train travel was traditionally used in the past; however, the rail line is inactive from Fort St. James to Takla Lake.
The forest types in the vicinity of Takla Lake dominated by lodge pole pine. Middle slope positions and sites with mesic relative moisture are largely dominated by pine with a minor component of white spruce. Lower slopes and moisture receiving sites tend to have a higher component of white spruce. Black spruce is common on poor nutrient upland sites in conjunction with pine and in treed bog sites. There are two age classes in the vicinity of Takla. Mature upland stands within the vicinity of the community are either 66 years old at breast height or 110 years old at breast height. There are some veterans of the 110 age class mixed in the younger stand.
Pine stands adjacent to the community are most contiguous to the north, whereas to the east and south the forest types are interrupted by the presence of the Finlay River and the Williston Reservoir, respectively. The forest adjacent to Takla are typically prone to windthrow hazards as they are not deeply rooted and have relatively high height to diameter ratios due to the dense stocking as saplings and poles.
Forested plant communities in the vicinity of Takla are dominated by shrubs such as black buckle berry, soopalallie, prickly rose, highbush-cranberry and Labrador tea. The herb layer varies significantly with the soil moisture and nutrient regime of a particular site. Dry sites generally express kinnikinic whereas fresh to moist sites generally express twinflower, bunchberry and lingonberry. Nutrient poor and wet sites tend to express crowberry.
Under section 7(2) of the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation and section 9(3) of the Woodlot Planning and Practices Regulation, there are legal frameworks in place that apply to the Fort St James Forest District, governing the indicators of amount, distribution and attributes of wildlife habitat required for the survival of the Blue Listed species listed below, including Northern Mountain Caribou; Wolverine, luscus subspecies; Fischer; and, Grizzly Bear.
In 1995 a campfire initiated a forest fire that encompassed 12,500 ha between Takla and Kwadacha. The fire cost more than $6 million to extinguish and resulted in the evacuation of Kwadacha for a time. There were no homes or lives lost.
In 2002 a lightening fire was started in a remote location adjacent to Finlay-Russel Provincial Park, 30 km west of Kwadacha. At 2,000 hectares, this was the largest blaze in BC in 2002. It did not endanger lives or property. BC Forest Service managers, working in conjunctions with BC Parks officials, decided to let the blaze follow its natural course, while monitoring it closely. This was done for several reasons, including the fire’s location, the ecological benefits of fire, reduction of available fuels in the area and costs of fighting the fire.
Historical records indicate that aboriginal people across Canada ignited fires to herd game, create habitat for grazing, encourage growth of edible plants, control forest pests and to keep travel routes open.
Takla elders and oral history indicate that prescribed burning was traditionally used to prepare forage for livestock and wildfire prevention. South facing grassy slopes and plains were burned in the spring to encourage new growth favoured by horses, elk and deer. Burns were typically undertaken in the early spring when the grasses were dry, but forested areas were damp and not prone to wildfire.
More recently, prescribed fire has been utilized industrially to reduce the fire hazard and restore forest land productivity by preparing areas with large accumulation of logging debris for planting. Traditional wisdom indicates that the burning of piles in this fashion has been detrimental to small denning animals, particularly the slow moving porcupine.
The assessment area can experience extended periods of little to no precipitation and sustained temperatures in the 25-35C range during the summer months, resulting in very dry fuel moisture conditions from July to September. There is a general correlation between the amount of precipitation received and the number of high to extreme ‘fire danger’ days experienced.
Compliments of Takla Nation: