A grizzly bear in B.C.'s West Kootenays

Zincton proposal raises concerns around impacts to wildlife

A contentious proposal for the Zincton All-Season Resort in British Columbia’s West Kootenay region faces growing resistance.

A coalition of 25 organizations, representing more than 300,000 British Columbians and more than 1,000 businesses, has requested the B.C. Premier and Ministers quash the proposal.

“The Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Coalition requests that the Zincton application for tenure end now,” state the letter signatories, noting that planning is essential in this unique part of the province that is seeing ever-increasing pressure from industrial and commercial interests.

“It’s becoming very clear that there is little support for this resort,” says Jesse Zeman, chair of the coalition and BC Wildlife Federation executive director.

One of the coalition’s main concerns is the impact to wildlife, particularly grizzly bears.

“The Zincton resort would impact some of the very best grizzly bear habitat in the region, including highly important huckleberry patches,” says Eddie Petryshen of Wildsight.

Nadine Raynolds of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, another coalition member, says, “If approved, this resort could sever an essential north-south corridor for grizzlies and wolverines, because of its size and location, as well as the increased highway traffic and associated private land development.”

Panoramic view of piq kiʔláwnaʔ in British Columbia
Panoramic view of the region proposed for the resort in the New Denver – Kaslo corridor of British Columbia. Photo: Karl Koerber

Risks to wildlife habitat and connectivity

The proposal is for a 5,000 hectare all-season resort in the middle of a wildlife corridor between New Denver and Kaslo, B.C., an area that connects Goat Range and Kokanee provincial parks.

With an anticipated 100,000 skier days per year, the resort will likely permanently displace wolverine. Mountain goats and western toads are also expected to be impacted, as well as fish populations with the significant ground disturbance and development, particularly given the history of mining and soil contamination in the area.

Concerns linger over continued access

Another key issue for the coalition is access to public lands.

“This proposal restricts access to land that local recreationists, hunters and others have been using for decades,” says Alan Duffy, chair of the B.C. Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

Local governments such as the Regional District of Central Kootenay and other stakeholders have also opposed the resort and are asking for an updated and modernized land use planning process, as well as a review of the potential cumulative environmental and socio-economic impacts to the small rural communities in the area.

“Our mountains, rivers, lakes and forests are suffering from decades of mismanagement and unsustainable use,” adds Scott Ellis of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. “The Province needs to make decisions to ensure sound long-term management of B.C.’s fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreational resources in the best interests of all.”

Y2Y stands with the other Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat coalition members urging the B.C. Premier and Ministers to quash the Zincton all-seasons resort proposal:

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers British Columbia
B.C. Federation of Fly Fishers
B.C. Fishing Tourism Association
B.C. Trappers Association
B.C. Wildlife Federation
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, B.C. Chapter
Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association
Fraser Valley Salmon Society
Georgia Strait Alliance
Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative
British Columbia Federation of Drift Fishers
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia
Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C.
Hunters for BC, Safari Club International
The Steelhead Society of B.C.
Traditional Bowhunters British Columbia
United Bowhunters
Watershed Watch Salmon Society
Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia
Wildsight
Wildlife Stewardship Council

About the Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat Coalition

The Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat Coalition represents a diverse array of interests that share common concerns about the decline of fish, wildlife, and habitat in British Columbia, including environmental and conservation organizations, hunting and angling guides, wildlife viewing, ecotourism, naturalists, hunters, anglers, and trappers. Y2Y joined the coalition in fall 2020.

Header photo: Craig Pettit