The Ktunaxa Nation, conservationists, and backcountry skiers and snowboarders have opposed a proposed large-scale ski resort deep in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia for over two decades. After 26 years, what more will it take to keep the Jumbo Valley and the Central Purcells forever wild?
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Keep Jumbo Wild
Deep in the wilderness of British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains is a valley with cherished alpine landscapes and a vibrant environment that needs permanent protection. At the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, Jumbo Creek cascades out of deep snowpacks every spring, past crumbling glacial ice, wildflowers and grizzly tracks. The Jumbo Valley has long been revered for its beauty and grandeur.
For the Ktunaxa Nation, it is known as Qat’muk, home of the Grizzly Bear Spirit. Jumbo is part of an important international wildlife corridor where grizzly bears can freely roam along the Purcell Mountains, between the U.S. and Canada.
A Decades-Long Struggle. Led by Wildsight and the Ktunaxa Nation, the fight to keep Jumbo wild has been ongoing for 26 years. Here are the major milestones throughout the campaign that have led us to where we are today:
1991: Jumbo Glacier Resort is proposed.
1991–2004: Despite strong local and First Nations opposition, the developers slowly continues to advance their proposal.
2004: Environmental certificate is issued for a five-year term, despite 91% of public comments in opposition to the project.
2008: Camp established in the Farnham Valley to prevent unpermitted installation of a ski lift on the Farnham Glacier (one of the four glaciers targeted by the resort).
2009: Jumbo land-use decision is transferred from local government to the BC provincial government and the environmental certificate is extended for an extra five-year term.
2011: The Ktunaxa Nation presents the Qat’muk Declaration to the BC government, outlining the sacred importance of the Jumbo Valley and their stewardship ethic.
2012: Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality is created—BC’s first municipality without a single resident—with an appointed mayor and councillors (funded entirely by BC taxpayer dollars).
2012: Dr. Michael Proctor and 18 grizzly bear biologists publish a monograph confirming that the Jumbo Valley is critical core habitat for the connected grizzly bear population of the Purcell, Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains.
2012–2014: Jumbo monitoring camps established to maintain a continuous presence for the summer and fall months in the Jumbo Valley to document construction. As the snow flies, concrete slabs are poured in the first week of October 2014 in a last-ditch attempt to officially start the project before the environmental certificate expires after nearly 10 years.
2015: Environmental certificate officially deemed expired, despite protests from the developer.
2015: Jumbo Wild documentary film released and tours the globe.
2016: The Ktunaxa Nation’s Jumbo case is heard in the Supreme Court of Canada, claiming protection for their spiritual beliefs and sacred places under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A decision is expected in late 2017.