The B.C. government says it will protect the Incomappleux Valley northeast of Nakusp from logging.
The government says the new Incomappleux Conservancy spans more than 58,000 hectares. The valley is home to inland temperate rainforest and old-growth cedar and hemlock. Some individual trees are estimated to be over four metres (13 feet) in diameter and over 1,000 years old. The forest also supports more than 250 lichen species and provides habitat for grizzly and black bears.
In addition, another 17,000 hectares in the southern part of the valley will be protected from logging. Interfor has agreed to give up its tenure in the area.
“Today is a really significant day for all of those involved in the past yeares to protect BC’s wonderful natural ecosystems,” said Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy. “It’s a really important announcement for the people of Kootenay West as well as Nelson-Creston.”
Conroy says during her time as forests minister, she learned about B.C’s biodiversity.
“Today we are making a commitment to permanently protect a very special place that supports some of that incredible diversity, which just happens to be north of where I live.”
The Incomappleux Valley is one of the nine areas where logging stopped in September 2020 following the release of an old-growth strategic review.
“For too long, governments didn’t make protecting this beautiful place the priority it should have been,” premier David Eby said. “They believed we had to choose between growing the economy and protecting unique wild spaces like this for generations to come. That’s a false choice. We can and must do both.”
The province said it worked with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Interfor, and First Nations. The Nature Conservancy will manage and fund the conservancy and protections, with support from the federal government, Teck Resources, Wyss Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation and individual donors.
“The Incomappleux Valley is a precious old-growth forest, which our Sinixt ancestors protected and sustained since time immemorial,” said Jarred-Michael Erickson, chair of the Confederated Colville Tribes and the Sn̓ʕaýckstx (Sinixt) Confederacy, in a news release.
“It is now our job to ensure that the land and habitat are preserved for the benefit of future generations, and we look forward to working with the province and other stakeholders in this very special part of our ancestral territory.”