Muskwa-Kechika Management Area

© Philip Dearden

It is considered one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. The Muskwa-Kechika Management Area (M-KMA) is a unique region of wilderness, wildlife, and culture tucked away in northeastern British Columbia, Canada. The region is roughly the size of Ireland and contains within it breathtaking mountain ranges, matrixes of river networks, and globally significant populations of grizzly bears as well as other species such as Stone sheep, wolves, and caribou. In contrast, the M-KMA is also prospective land for oil and gas exploration, mining, and forestry.

© Philip Dearden

Our assessment examines the system of governance and decision-making associated with the M-KMA in what we call the governance system. The Muskwa-Kechika Advisory Board (M-KAB) is an important advisory body, appointed by the Premier of BC, mandated with advising the government on natural resource management in the M-KMA. However, members of the M-KAB include a range of stakeholder groups having a diversity of interests and values with the large potential for conflict. Budget cuts and development pressure also present uncertainties regarding the future success and legitimacy of the governance structure currently in place.

The Assessment Report

© Philip Dearden

Our research comes at a pivotal time when the region will face economic, political, and environmental challenges in the upcoming years. We hope our research will provide insight and reflection on the current governance structure in place for the M-KMA that might help local communities and stakeholders strategies on possible changes or improvements. At the same time, we are trying to develop an assessment framework that can be applied to similar assessments of other large-scale environmental governance arrangements.

The M-KMA case study was led by Lauren Law, an Honors student in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria. Her assessment report is here.  For more information, contact Lauren at

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