Y2Y staff, board and partner organizations hike British Columbia's Jumbo pass. Photo: Alex Popov

On Saturday, Jan. 18, Canada announced the intention to create a new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) in southeastern British Columbia. Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) congratulates Ktunaxa Nation, B.C. and Canada on this historic achievement.

This is a new era for conservation in the age of reconciliation and demonstrates the kind of collaboration needed to effectively protect cultural, recreational and natural capital for future generations.   

At the Jan. 18 community celebration and announcement about the protection of Qat’muk in Cranbrook. Photo: Nadine Raynolds

“By working together, we will reach our nature protection goal to conserve 25 percent of Canada’s land, and 25 percent of Canada’s oceans by 2025,” says Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The federal government is making Indigenous leadership an important part of conservation efforts and up to 27 Indigenous protected and conserved areas are expected to be established under the Canada Nature Fund’s Target 1 Challenge.

According to Candace Batycki, Y2Y’s B.C. and Yukon program director, “As our climate continues to change, places like Qat’muk will be increasingly important places of refuge, providing clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and supporting cultural and spiritual identities. Keeping Qat’muk wild is important for future generations of all the species who rely on these landscapes, including humans.”

Deep within in B.C.’s wild Purcell Mountains, Jumbo Valley is core territory for Ktunaxa Nation and home to the grizzly bear spirit. Known as Qat’muk, this place is central to the Ktunaxa people’s cultural and spiritual identity. It is also habitat for grizzly bears and a diverse array of other wildlife.

As part of the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor, this region serves a critical role as one of only two remaining mountain ranges in North America connecting grizzlies that roam between Canada and the United States, key to maintaining strong genetic diversity. 

We look forward to further details on this announcement.   

Header photo: Y2Y staff, board and partner organizations hike British Columbia’s Jumbo pass. Photo: Alex Popov