By Camille Aubin
The province acquired more than 650 hectares of land to protect environmentally sensitive areas and enhance outdoor recreation. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy invested $6,779,350 on land acquisition and will be added to 16 provincial parks and two protected areas.
“Our parks and protected areas are among the natural treasures of our province and play an important role in our overall health and well-being, especially during COVID-19,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These areas also provide critical habitat to a number of species. Acquiring additional land means more species and ecosystems will be protected and the land will be here for generations to come.”
Here, in the East Kootenay, The Purcell Wilderness Conservancy (PWC) has just gained ground, where the province bought an 18 hectares waterfront parcel for the sum of $640,800.
“The PWC is the largest park in southeastern B.C. and provides critical habitat for wildlife like grizzlies, mountain goats and wolverines, while at the same time protecting diverse ecosystems, from the high alpine to the old-growth inland temperate rainforest. This parcel protects an important part of the travel corridor for wildlife, from mountain peak to valley bottom on the lakeshore,” explained Robyn Duncan, executive director of Wildsight.
According to a 2019-2020 report, PWC embraces six large drainages, three of them flowing east into the Columbia River system and three are flowing west toward Kootenay Lake. It is the only intact ecosystem in southeastern B.C. and contains five distinct biogeoclimatic zones. “The PWC is made up of interconnected ecosystems whose boundaries do not end at the park boundary. We know it’s more important than ever to protect nature and British Columbians love our parks. The central Purcells are extremely important for wildlife and we look forward to future protections through the Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in Qat’muk (Jumbo),” added Duncan.