Mega Ski Resort Development Stopped: Qat’muk To Be Protected

Mega Ski Resort Development Stopped: Qat’muk To Be Protected

The fight over the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort in B.C.’s Qat’muk territory is over, as the Canadian government has officially declared it an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA).

Qat’muk, territory of the Ktunaxa Nation, is located in the Purcell Mountains and contains the Jumbo Valley. For 30 years, the Ktunaxa Nation and conservation groups have opposed and fought a proposed ski area, named Jumbo Glacier Resort. If fully developed, the year-round resort would have featured 20 lifts, accessing four glaciers with a total footprint of 6,000 hectares. For the Ktunaxa, Qat’muk is the home of the grizzly bear spirits and a vital part of their culture. It is also one of North America’s most important wildlife corridors.

ACMG Guide Colin Zacharias, who has led a backcountry ski tour in the area, described it as classic, rugged, high-alpine terrain and some of the most spectacular ski touring in the Purcells.  “It’s like what ski touring would have been in Europe in the 1800s, minus the logging cut blocks,” he said. 

Fortunately, thanks to the formation of the IPCA, Oat’muk won’t undergo Euro-style development and will remain wild, without ski lifts, gondolas, roads, and concrete bunkers. It’s an interesting collaboration: Created through a partnership between the Ktunaxa Nation and the province of B.C., the IPCA will be led and governed by indigenous peoples. The federal government will contribute $16 million in funding to protect the area with an additional $5 million coming from private foundations.

It’s an intriguing story, ending in a victory for the environment and the Ktunaxa Nation. Let’s give our thanks to all the people in B.C. who never gave up, and who spent 30 years fighting for this outcome.

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