|For Immediate Release
April 6, 2001
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
SOUTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN CONSERVATION AREA ESTABLISHED
CRANBROOK A new 280,000 hectare conservation area has
been established in southeast B.C.s east Kootenay region
to protect significant natural values while allowing sustainable
Kootenay MLA Erda Walsh announced the establishment of the Southern
Rocky Mountain Conservation Area today on behalf of Environment,
Lands and Parks Minister Ian Waddell.
The rich and diverse environment of the area will be conserved
for future generations while providing immediate and long-term
economic opportunities for the local community, said Waddell.
Local conservationists have been extremely supportive of
this conservation area. We will be working closely with conservation
groups, First Nations, resource industries, local communities
and others over the next year to develop a wildlife management
We are truly blessed to live in one of the most pristine
and spectacular places in the world. This conservation area will
provide future generations with a lasting natural legacy while
still allowing sustainable levels of resource development and
recreational activities, said Walsh. I want to assure
resource tenure holders that todays announcement will not
affect existing rights, added Walsh.
The primary objective of the conservation area is to maintain
wildlife and habitat values while allowing for sustainable development
of resources including forestry, mining, hunting, and wilderness
tourism. The conservation area assures implementation of specific
wildlife and habitat objectives associated with the Kootenay-Boundary
Land Use Plan Implementation Strategy, while a wildlife management
plan is being developed with public consultation. Forest allocation
and management approved under the recently announced Kootenay
Boundary Land Use Plan higher level plan will meet the goals of
the conservation area. The conservation area does not limit existing
or future treaty negotiations or settlements, and will not unjustifiably
interfere with aboriginal rights.
Over the next year, the public will be consulted by the Kootenay-Boundary
Inter-Agency Management Committee on the development of a wildlife
management plan for the Southern Rocky Mountain Conservation Area.
Following approval of the plan by government, the area is intended
to receive designation as a Wildlife Management Area under the
The Southern Rocky Mountain Conservation Area contains key grizzly
bear habitat and serves as a core link between the Northern Continental
Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear population in the U.S. and neighbouring
grizzly bear populations in Canada. The region is reputed to support
the highest density of non-coastal grizzly bears in North America
and is also a source area for grizzly bear populations in Alberta,
Montana and adjacent watersheds in B.C.
The area extends from the B.C./Montana border north through the
Flathead, Wigwam and portions of the Elk/Bull river watersheds
to the southern boundary of Height of the Rockies Provincial Park
and contains a healthy, intact ecosystem of significant size that
is fairly isolated and undeveloped. The area includes valuable
spawning and rearing habitat for resident and migratory fish including
Bull trout, which are listed as vulnerable in B.C. and endangered
in the U.S. The Southern Rocky Mountain Conservation Area complements
the work of the Flathead Basin Commission, a cooperative initiative
between B.C. and Montana governments to monitor and protect water
quality in the states most important watershed.
A map of the conservation area is available on the Internet at
|Alex Dabrowski, 250-387-9423
|Scott Benton, 250-354-6347
For more information on the Ministry of Environment, Lands and
Parks, visit our Web site at http://www.gov.bc.ca/elp/
on the Internet.