(Watch this outstanding video on the history and value of the Muskwa-Kechika, featuring former Y2Y Board Members Wayne Sawchuk, Brian Churchill, and Jerry Pavia. 27 min)
Located in northern British Columbia (B.C.), the Muskwa-Kechika Ecosystem includes the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area (MKMA), which at 16 million acres (6,474,970 ha) is roughly the size of Ireland and one of the largest wilderness areas in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
In 1998, a comprehensive management plan for what became the MKMA was negotiated setting a world standard for environmental sustainability and economic stability. Two former Y2Y board members were involved in developing and securing the management plan and served on the Muskwa-Kechika Advisory Board during the process.
The plan is a great success story for the Yellowstone to Yukon region, since it accommodates both conservation and use, enabling highly-regulated resource development while also protecting a large, intact and predominantly roadless wilderness. It includes parks and protected areas, as well as management zones where extractive development is allowed under stringent, best-practice standards. More than 15 years later, the Muskwa-Kechika Ecosystem remains wild – a testament to the management practices that were implemented in 1998.
Value to Yellowstone to Yukon Vision
The Muskwa-Kechika Ecosystem is a core refuge for globally significant populations of grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, wolverines, native trout and Stone’s sheep. Its wild landscape, a direct result of the 1998 management plan, is a sanctuary to wildlife in a time of climate change.
Provincial budget cuts, development pressures and a changing climate threaten the success of the 1998 management plan. If not updated in the face of these challenges, we risk losing the gains already made.
Y2Y Goals and Gains
Goal: Y2Y seeks to update the management plan and increase the amount of protected area in the region to 50 percent.
Gains: In July 2012, Y2Y released an innovative new assessment—Muskwa-Kechika – Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Assessment—that tackles the complex question of how to protect habitat when climate change will radically rearrange entire ecosystems. The report is meant to advise the Muskwa-Kechika Advisory Board, which in turn may make recommendations to the B.C. government on proposed actions for the region.
What We Are Working On Now
Y2Y is promoting the findings of its 2012 assessment and supporting the efforts of partners and local First Nations to strengthen protection for the Muskwa-Kechika.
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M-K Story (Keeping Muskwa-Kechika Wild)