On January 18 the Ktunaxa Nation Council announced the success of their 30 year-long effort to ensure Qat’muk in the Central Purcell Mountains remain protected for future generations as an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area.
Privately held interests and tenures were purchased through a $16.2 million contribution from the Government of Canada and an additional $5 million of funding from the Wyss Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation, Patagonia, Donner Canadian Foundation and Columbia Basin Trust.
“Qat’muk is the spiritual home of the grizzly bear and of profound importance to our Nation. Grizzly bear spirit’s home will become part of a larger Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area. So, today marks both an end and a beginning,” said Kathryn Teneese, Chairperson of the Ktunaxa Nation Council.
The new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area will span approximately 70,000 hectares immediately north of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy and encompass the Jumbo Valley and parts of adjacent watersheds.
“Together with the Wyss Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation, Patagonia and the Donner Canadian Foundation, we are honoured to support the Ktunaxa Nation in their decades-long effort to protect and steward Qat’muk and its cultural and ecological treasures for current and future generations,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President & CEO, Columbia Basin Trust, on behalf of the non-government donor group.
Defining boundaries and stewardship objectives for the protected area is anticipated to begin in late 2020 through an agreement between the Ktunaxa Nation Council and BC government in consultation with local communities and stakeholders.
Find out more about Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas here and read a Ktunaxa Nation Council backgrounder on planning and community engagement for this new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area here.