Resource Management Zones (RMZs) were designated through the Land and Resource Management Planning (LRMP) process, by the Mackenzie LRMP, Fort St. John LRMP and Fort Nelson LRMP. As outlined in the Fort St. John LRMP, the boundaries for each zone were determined according to considerations such as topography, existing land use and access, Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) boundaries, environmental concerns and resource values. Each of the zones has listed a unique set of resource values, objectives to maintain or enhance those values and a number of strategies to achieve the objectives. The Resource Management Zones provide geographically focused, strategic direction for all land and resource development in the planning area. Each RMZ is described in its respective LRMP document.
The definitions below are summarized from the Mackenzie LRMP. It is important to note that the definitions for RMZ classifications vary slightly between LRMP documents.
These areas are to be protected for their natural (biophysical), cultural heritage, and/or recreational values. Logging, mining, hydroelectric dams, and oil and gas development are prohibited.
This zone, found only in the Mackenzie LRMP, has the most stringent management requirements aside from Parks and Protected Areas. This RMZ is intended to emphasize ecological conservation, wilderness, and commercial and non-commercial back-country recreation. Timber harvesting is not allowed, and although mineral and oil and gas exploration is permitted, non-roaded exploration is promoted. Roaded access is to be temporary and subject to impacts assessment and public review.
These zones, established in the Fort St. John, Fort Nelson and Mackenzie LRMPs, place emphasis on identified non-extractive values such as commercial recreation. Development of access corridors is possible, with additional roads developed of a temporary and secondary nature. Commercial and industrial activities are managed to maintain the identified 'special' values or features. The Fox and Obo Special Resource Management Zones are managed differently as they allow permanent roads for industrial development.
There are two Enhanced Resource Management Zones in the M-KMA, the Khak'I Tse (Buffalohead) at Fort Ware in the M-KMA and extending south of the M-KMA, and Alaska Highway Corridor due to its developed nature, heavy use, and anticipated future improvements. These zones have fewer restrictions for industrial and other forms of development than the Special and Special Wildland RMZs.
The Khak'i Tse (Buffalohead) RMZ places emphasis on optimisation of timber growth and utilisation with the recognition that other industrial users such as mineral development may also benefit in the zone. Restrictions may apply in areas of special values (e.g. First Nations, wildlife, fish, habitat etc.). (Mackenzie LRMP)
The Alaska Highway Corridor Enhanced RMZ places emphasis on managing the highway corridor to enhance the recreation and tourism resources. The management intent is to provide for intensive resource development (e.g. timber, natural gas and minerals). The zone includes objectives for protection of cultural, habitat and trapping values. (Fort Nelson LRMP)