Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nisga’a culture and history set to be explored

The Nass Valley will be one of the high profile destinations this spring and summer, as the Nisga’a Nation reveals its tourism plan for 2008.

The distinct tours will be offered to visitors this year, providing a comprehensive look at the culture of the Nisga’a people and historical nature of the Nass Valley.

Nisga’a nation officials provided a sneak preview for the Daily News in Tuesday’s paper.

Tourists invited to share Nisga'a story
Nass valley to be opened up to visitors thanks to three new tour packages
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Pages one and three

The tourism division of the Nisga'a Commercial Group will be launching three new tours of the Nass Valley for the 2008 season, as part of an overall tourism development plan for the Nisga'a Nation.

Wilf Blonde, the organization's chief executive officer, said that up until now there have been very few guided activities available that share the history and culture of the Nisga'a Nation and its Nass Valley home.

"The upcoming 2008 tourist season marks the beginning of a new way of sharing that information with the general public," he said.

Kim Morrison, who was hired as the CEO of the tourism division in 2007, has been working to develop the three tours that directly and positively reflect Nisga'a culture and the eco-friendly land uses of Nisga'a Treaty Lands.

“Working with representatives of the four Nisga’a Villages, tourism opens the valley to the world, highlight a culture rich in history,” said Blonde.

To respect the Nisga’a Treaty and Nisga’a Lisims Government, the Nisga’a Commercial Group has been working with their Lands and Resources Department to obtain permits and approvals related to the tours and their impact on land use.

The three tours being offered this year include: a Mushroom, Herb and Botanicals Tour that highlights the Nisga’a harvest of the area’s rich forest resources and that teaches visitors to identify and use these products; the Nisga’a Fish Wheel Tour that introduces visitors to the gentle capture of Nisga’a Pacific salmon, considered to be some of the best on the market today; and finally, a Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Cone Tour that will take people through the Memorial Lava Beds up to the cone while telling the history of the Nisga’a people who died in the eruption and how are forever part of the Lava beds.

“Opening the Nass to more tourism activities can only be viewed as a good thing,” said Blonde.
These activities this year will create 25 to 35 seasonal positions.

Working with Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a (WWN), the local college/ university, the Nisga’a Commercial Group has created an extensive training plan for all tour operation employees. This training is anticipated to lead to a 10 course certificate in tourist services that is in the process of being developed in partnership with WWN and Northwest Community College in Terrace.

Negotiations are also underway to develop additional tours and excursions with other tourist service providers in the Nass.

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