Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) offers heart-felt congratulations to the Ktunaxa Nation on the announcement of provincial, federal and private funding support for the creation of a new Indigenous Protected and Conservation Area in the Central Purcell Mountains, including the Jumbo valley and surrounding area. 

The good news follows more than 25 years of legal battles and work by the Ktunaxa Nation, supported by environmental non-governmental organizations and conservation funders, to protect the place they know as Qat’Muk from being developed into a four-season glacier ski resort.  

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas protect both ecological and cultural values and are an important way of advancing reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.  


“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.”

Candace Batycki, Y2Y program director

“Keeping Qat’Muk wild is important for future generations of all the species who rely on these landscapes, including humans,” says Candace Batycki, program director at Y2Y. “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.” 

The Ktunaxa have stated that Qat’muk’s importance for the Grizzly Bear Spirit is inextricably interlinked with its importance for living grizzly bears now and in the future.

A waterfall flows in the Jumbo Valley of the Purcell mountain range of southeastern B.C. Photo: Alex Popov

Grizzly bear scientists have confirmed that the Central Purcells serve a critical role in 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. 

This rugged landscape also supports important populations of wolverines and mountain goats, and is occasionally used by mountain caribou, an endangered species.  

“We are overjoyed at the protection of sacred territory for the Ktunaxa and key grizzly bear habitat in the Yellowstone to Yukon region,” says Batycki.

“We look forward to supporting implementation of this agreement. We also commend Canada on its commitment to protecting 25 percent of Canada’s lands by 2025 and look forward to the creation of additional Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.”