Regional Planning
HomeNewsSearchReports & PublicationsContacts
For Immediate Release
April 6, 2001
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks


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 resource development.

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 plan.”

“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 today’s 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 Wildlife Act.

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 state’s most important watershed.

A map of the conservation area is available on the Internet at


Alex Dabrowski, 250-387-9423
Media Relations
Scott Benton, 250-354-6347
IAMC Chair

For more information on the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, visit our Web site at on the Internet.

Top Copyright Disclaimer Privacy Statement Feedback

Government of British Columbia Ministry Home