Corridors and resorts don’t mix: proposal threatens grizzly bear and wolverine
For grizzly bears, wolverine, and other wildlife, the Central Selkirk Ranges between New Denver and Kaslo in southeastern British Columbia are a key reason they thrive in this area. The mountains here are steep, rugged, and remote, forbidding to all but the hardiest hikers.
Yet this very wildness is what draws adventure tourists in increasing numbers year after year, for mechanized hiking, biking and skiing.
The Zincton All-Season Resort is the latest, a commercial tenure proposed for right in the middle of a critical wildlife corridor connecting Goat Range Provincial Park in the north to Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in the south. This is prime grizzly bear and wolverine habitat, and also home to mountain goats and western toads.
If severed, this link may never recover.
What’s really at risk?
Y2Y staff, wolverine and bear biologists have examined this proposal. A number of issues have emerged:
- The Zincton resort would impact some of the very best grizzly bear habitat in the region, including highly important huckleberry patches;
- Wolverines are known to live and den in this area — they are sensitive to intensive human use;
- If approved, this resort could sever a critical north-south corridor for grizzlies and wolverine due to its size and location and the increased highway traffic to access the resort;
- The Province of B.C. has made a commitment to the rights of Indigenous people. The corridor along Highway 31A is an important traditional use area for Indigenous people and consent for this resort has not been provided;
- This proposal restricts access to land that local recreationists, hunters and others have been using for decades, exploiting public land to feed profits on the proponent’s adjacent private land;
- The cumulative impacts on the ecosystem and the potential socio-economic impacts to the small rural communities in the area have not been assessed;
- No further commercial applications should be considered in this already highly tenured region, until the Province completes land use and access management planning, including government-to-government negotiations with Indigenous Nations.
Let’s press pause and make a plan
Show you care about wildlife and human communities. Add your support and name to our petition. Urge decision-makers to press pause and facilitate a real plan for this region.
Join The Wild Connection, Y2Y, and other concerned citizens by advocating for a pause on any new, or expansion of existing, commercial recreational tenures and allocate the resources for a larger land use planning process.
What’s new and happening now
- In a May 2022 letter, a coalition of 25 organizations, including Y2Y, representing more than 300,000 British Columbians and more than 1,000 businesses, requested the B.C. Premier and Ministers quash the proposal
- The Zincton All-Season Resort proposal has gone through the “Expression of Interest” (May 2020) and “Formal Proposal” (September 2021) stages of the Mountain Resorts Branch process. A variety of concerns related to wildlife, environment, public safety and access, as well as cumulative effects and socio-economic impacts, have been submitted by residents, visitors, local governments, Indigenous people, conservation groups, recreation associations, and more. The full proposal is still under review by the Province, while concern and opposition continue to mount.
- The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), which is amongst the impacted communities by this development, is not in support of the proposal.
“At this time, the RDCK cannot provide support for the proposal until remaining concerns are addressed. Areas of concern include cumulative effects on the Highway 31 Corridor, socio-economic impacts to the rural area and nearby communities, environmental impacts to important habitats and species and ecosystems threatened or at risk, and preserving public access to Crown lands.”
(Page 640, Section 4.1 – warning agenda document is large)
- The RDCK also approved a resolution asking for “Increased Resources for Modernized Land Use Planning” because “public lands in British Columbia are facing complex and cumulative pressures, with competing demands between stakeholders and ever-increasing impacts to wildlife and ecosystems”. The RDCK is asking the Province to “add staffing to facilitate the completion of modernized land use planning, inclusive of the UNDRIP protocols… by the end of 2024.” This motion will go to the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) in April, and then to the Union of BC Municipalities convention in September. (Resolution approved at January 20, 2022 RDCK board meeting)
- The Village of Silverton hosted a panel presentation on the issues and concerns related to the Zincton resort proposal, including a presentation by renowned trans-border grizzly bear researcher Michael Proctor.
- Coalition urges wildlife corridor in B.C.’s West Kootenay region be kept intact
- Letter to the Nelson Star: Against Zincton resort development
- Find articles and letters “In the Press” hosted by local organizers, The Wild Connection
- Read the Misconceptions about Zincton All-Seasons Resort by the EcoSociety
- Learn more from the Valhalla Wilderness Society
- See Wildsight’s thoughts: Selkirk Mountains Ski Resort Threatens Wildlife
- Autonomous Sinixt op-ed “Is the cost too high?”: http://thenelsondaily.com/news/oped-cost-too-high
- Read Tenureland: Why Adventure Tourism Tenure in the Kootenays is so Divisive
- Follow the B.C. Government process on Zincton
We need a plan. You can help.
Add your name to our petition advocating for a pause on any new, or expansion of existing, commercial recreational tenures until a larger land use planning process is complete for this region.
This post was originally published in February 2020, and was updated in March 2022.
Header photo: Panoramic view of piq kiʔláwnaʔ in British Columbia near New Denver and Kaslo. Photo: Karl Koerber