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Two Kootenay parks receive boost through ‘Protected Areas of B.C. Act’ amendments

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
March 7th, 2024

The province is adding protected land to two West Kootenay parks.

Around 30 hectares will be added to Valhalla Park (six ha.) and the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park (24 ha.) as new legislative amendments to the Protected Areas of B.C. (PABC) Act were recently passed.

Located near Slocan, Valhalla Provincial Park is 49,893 ha. in total, with a further six ha. added to reduce the number of private land inholdings (land surrounded by existing park), protecting the diverse topography, majestic peaks and unique vegetation of the Selkirk Mountains.

Established in 1983 in the mountains above the western shores of Slocan Lake — with 30 kilometres of shoreline — the park consists of most of the Valhalla Ranges of the Selkirk Mountains. As a result, there is limited access to the park, but it remains popular with mountain climbers.

 

Leaning Towers group from Mount Brennan (Selkirks) — Battle Brook, Creative Commons

 

A slightly older provincial park, the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park and Protected Area was established in 1974 and includes over 202,709 ha. that spans six drainages in the Purcell Mountains. It was one of the first areas in Canada conserved because of citizen activisim.

Preserved in its natural state — it is considered the largest intact ecosystem in southeastern B.C. — there will be 24 ha. added to reduce the number of private land inholdings in the park that includes habitat for mule deer and grizzly bears.

The park contains five of B.C.’s biogeoclimatic zones, with the northern part of the park covering an important historical trade and transportation route used by First Nations people for hundreds of years (Toby Pass), linking the Rocky Mountain Trench to Kootenay Lake.

As part of these amendments, the responsibility of existing roads in two parks and one conservancy is being transferred to other ministries, including Kikomun Creek Park, Nancy Greene Park near Rossland and Yaaguun Suu Conservancy.

Amendments to the PABC Act are required to add new land to parks, conservancies and ecological reserves, modify or correct boundaries and improve boundary descriptions.

 

Further afield

The other B.C. additions consist of private land acquisitions, private donations and Crown lands, and include:

  • Tribune Bay Park (on Hornby Island): 10 ha., along with three ha. of adjacent marine foreshore that includes the last remaining beachfront property at Tribune Bay and an existing private campground with 135 sites;
  • Muncho Lake Park (near Fort Nelson): 2.5 ha. to protect additional waterfront along the jade-coloured Muncho Lake that’s located a few minutes from the Alaska Highway;
  • Edge Hills Park (near Clinton): 11 ha. to protect panoramic river canyon vistas, forested slopes, grassy benchlands and ravines along the Fraser River;
  • Mount Pope Park (near Fort St. James): 4.8 ha. to expand parking in the park that’s popular with hikers and rock climbers; and
  • Taku River/T’aḵú Téix̱’ Conservancy (near Atlin): 127 hectares that could not be added to the conservancy when it was established in 2012 due to an active mineral tenure that has now expired.

 

Renaming

In addition to these expansions, Cardiff Mountain Ecological Reserve will be renamed to Tŝi ʔEẑɨsh (pronounced Tsy-ezoish) Ecological Reserve to better reflect the First Nations place name for the area.

BC Parks collaboratively manages the ecological reserve with Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in the Tŝilhqot’in Declared Title Area, located 70 kilometres southwest of Hanceville.

Source: B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy

 

By the numbers

The Province acquires land each year through the BC Parks Land Acquisition Program to expand parks and protected areas.

The cost for these acquisitions is often augmented by partnerships with conservation groups, individual donors and corporations.

​The majority (630) of provincial parks in the system are Class A, which means that they are dedicated for the preservation of their natural environment and for public use and enjoyment.

In all, the PABC added 189 hectares to six existing provincial parks and one conservancy across the province in the latest amendment.

Source: B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: General

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