Coming to Unis’tot’en Camp
The camp is located on a forest road near Houston, BC, 1200 km (740 miles) north of Vancouver. There is a Greyhound bus depot and Via Rail station in Houston, and the nearest airport is in Smithers. It is much cheaper to take the bus to Prince George and then the train to Houston. But making the connections and then arranging for a ride into the Camp can be tricky.
If you are planning to go by public transport rather than drive please work out the details with the USB member who will contact you after you register.
If you are driving, please click here for directions and road conditions.
Conditions at the Camp
Weather has been getting weirder and more changeable everywhere in the world as the climate changes – and north central British Columbia is no exception. There have been snow storms and thaws, nice crisp cold days and surprisingly mild ones as winter turned into spring.
Good idea before heading up is to check the current weather and forecast for Houston, the nearest town to the Camp. But the Camp is at a higher elevation so adjust accordingly. Often a little warmer in the day, and cooler at night than in Houston during the warmer months but in the winter expect cooler temperatures and more snow than in town.
What Will Happen During Your Visit?
At the entrance to the camp, at the bridge over Wedzin Kwah (Morice River), the hosts greet visitors with the Free, Prior, Informed Consent protocol. Each person entering Unis’tot’en territory is asked where you are from, what you can offer to help the people defending their land, whether you have worked for resource extraction companies, and other questions.
In the summer months most volunteers camp out in tents on the land but there is now plenty of wood-heated indoor sleeping space for the winter. However, even in the warmer months nights can be quite chilly, especially when the sky is clear. If you prefer indoor sleeping arrangements check with the hosts regarding available space but be prepared to camp out.
Volunteers take turns cooking group meals and washing up afterwards in the Healing Centre’s large indoor kitchen. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
The camp has electricity from solar panels and a diesel back-up generator. They also have a satellite communication system for emergencies. But there is no indoor toilet, wifi, or cellphone access. Outhouses have been converted to the “composting type”. There is hot and cold running water in the bunkhouse for washing-up and showers. Visitors are asked to use the hot water sparingly and make a contribution to the donation jar to cover the cost of the propane used by the water heater.
This is an action camp. The Unis’tot’en people and their allies have set up a “checkpoint,” closing the road to pipeline crews and those who don’t respect their protocol. The camp is not breaking any laws, but there have been threats by the authorities. While things have been quiet so far this year in terms of police and company activity the Camp remains in a state of alert. Please be aware that the situation may change at any time. Be prepared to support non-violent direct action to delay or prevent unauthorized entry to the territory.
No matter what the time of year there is always lots of work to be done although priorities change with the seasons.
The hosts make all the decisions on their land. It is not the place of visitors to argue or refuse to abide by their decisions. Visitors who can’t get along at Unis’tot’en camp or who do not respect the camp hosts, the rules, the land, or the property of the camp qualify for a free ride to the bus depot in Houston BC.
What to Bring
Make sure you have suitable footwear, warm clothing, a sleeping bag, and the basic necessities for comfort on the land. Goggles and a headlamp are also recommended. Bring food to share. The camp also welcomes donations of cash, home preserves, tobacco, and other useful items (see our list on the Camp Needs page). Don’t bring drugs (except prescription medicine), alcohol, or weapons. Dogs (or any other pets) are not allowed into the camp but accommodation is being created this year for the first time just on the other side of the bridge. That is great news for dog owners who can’t leave theirs behind. Contact us for more information.
Good idea to bring work boots if you have them and other Personal Protective Equipment such as work gloves and ear protection. Chainsaws and other power equipment are noisy – whether you are using them or are in the area of someone who is.
Guidelines for Behaviour
Please don’t come to the camp if you’re sick or have parasites Don’t leave clothes and other non-essentials behind unless the camp hosts ask you to. Take everything with you when you leave, and don’t take anything that’s not yours. Public nudity is not permitted.
People of all races, religions, nationalities, classes, genders and gender identifications are welcome to support the grassroots Wet’suwet’en people in defending their land. The hosts expect all volunteers to respect diverse views and seek common ground rather than conflict.