Together with the provincial and federal governments and a forestry company, the National Conservancy of Canada announced the conservation of 185,329 acres (75,000 hectares) in the Incomappleux Valley located in the Selkirk Mountains approximately 29 kilometres east of Revelstoke.
The project, which is approximately the size of 150 Stanley Parks in Vancouver, also shares a 44-kilometre-long boundary with Glacier National Park.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada facilitated the collaboration between respected parties, including the Province of BC and Interfor, and also raised funds to implement the agreement to remove forest tenure in the Incomappleux Valley.
“We were pleased to work collaboratively with these partners, and with First Nations whose territory includes the Incomappleux Valley, to create a provincial conservancy and other protections for this important area,” the NCC media release said.
“NCC raised $4M to facilitate the establishment of the conservancy and additional land protections.”
Nature Conservancy of Canada raised funds the Environment and Climate Change Canada through Canada’s Nature Fund, and from Teck Resources, the Wyss Foundation and the Wilburforce Foundation, as well as from individual donors.
British Columbia has the world's only temperate inland rainforest. The Incomappleux River Valley is a vast and largely intact area of rare inland temperate rainforest, a unique ecosystem found only in one of a few regions on Earth. These forests contain some ancient trees ranging from 800 to 1,500 years old.
"The rich and unique biodiversity of the Incomappleux Valley makes this one of the most-significant protected areas established in the province in a decade," said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
"By expanding parks and protected areas, we are strengthening protection and enhancement of biodiversity in British Columbia and contributing to our goal of protecting 30% of the province by 2030."
The Incommapleux Valley is also home for several species at risk, including Grizzly bear, mountain goats, wolverine and mountain caribou.
The river system supports kokanee salmon and bull trout, as well as numerous waterfowl and wetland birds. Several at risk species of plants, mosses and lichen can be found in this valley.
It is also home for the northern myotis bat and little brown myotis bat.
B.C. has two temperate rainforests - one on the West Coast and the other in the Interior.
The inland temperate rainforest is one of the few inland rainforests in the world and is approximately 1.43 million hectares. It stretches roughly 550 kilometres along the western slopes of the Rocky and Columbia mountains.
The Incomappleux Valley is one of the nine areas where harvesting was immediately deferred in September 2020 when the Old-Growth Strategic Review was released to allow First Nations, the Province and other partners to develop new approaches to sustainable forest management that prioritizes ecosystem health and community resiliency.
This project means a significant expansion of conservation lands in the region, increasing important habitat and connectivity for wide-ranging animals across the southern interior mountains of BC.
This agreement builds on the momentum of COP15.
The recent Global Biodiversity Framework signed at COP15 in Montreal recognizes that a whole-of-society approach is required to implement the ambitious goals set out by the world to stem nature loss.
In BC and Canada that means protecting 30 % of our lands and waters by 2030. It takes private sector, governments, and conservation groups to work together to set aside large areas such as this.
BELOW: A map showing the new protected area.