61,526 stand up for Jumbo Wild: Petition delivered to BC Government and Ktunaxa Nation

“We’re here today, along with 61,526 others, to stand up and demand that Christy Clark and the BC Government not only halt all development in the Jumbo Valley,”

Cranbrook and Victoria: On Tuesday, a petition with 61,526 signatures calling for the permanent protection of the Jumbo Valley organized by Wildsight was presented in the BC Legislature by Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald and Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall. Over 10,000 from British Columbia and thousands from the Kootenays were joined by petition signers from around the world standing up against the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort in the heart of the Purcells Mountains near Invermere, BC.

“We’re here today, along with 61,526 others, to stand up and demand that Christy Clark and the BC Government not only halt all development in the Jumbo Valley,” said Wildsight Executive Director Robyn Duncan, speaking to Jumbo Wild supporters on the steps of the BC Legislature, “but also permanently protect the ecological and spiritual values of the Jumbo Valley.

On Monday, Wildsight and the Jumbo Wild coalition presented the petition to the transboundary Ktunaxa Nation in support of their Qat’muk Declaration at a ceremony in a packed venue at the Ktunaxa Nation Government offices in Cranbrook, with more than 100 in attendance.

The petition was launched from a partnership between Wildsight and Patagonia, out of which came the feature-length film Jumbo Wild that inspired tens of thousands around the world to stand up for the remote wilderness, critical grizzly bear connectivity habitat and Ktunaxa spiritual values of the Jumbo Valley.

“It isn’t just wolverines and bears that need wilderness; humans need wilderness too,” said Duncan, “and that’s what the Jumbo Glacier Resort threatens: one of the last significant pieces of wilderness in southern BC.”

For the Ktunaxa, the Jumbo Valley is Qat’muk, the home of the grizzly, and an important spiritual site that they claim would be desecrated by the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort. The Ktunaxa are defending Qat’muk with a judicial review under consideration by the Supreme Court of Canada.

“We stand together with you here today and we’ll stand with you until Qat’muk is finally protected.” said Duncan on Monday, addressing the Ktunaxa Nation from the BC, Montana, and Idaho.

“It would be a very important act of reconciliation on the part of the government of BC if they chose to walk with us to develop permanent protection for the spiritual, cultural, environmental and other values in Qat’muk,” said Kathryn Teneese, chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council. “Thus, your powerful request that the BC government work with us to create a Ktunaxa protected area is, in itself, an act of reconciliation” she added, addressing Wildsight and Jumbo Wild supporters.

“Environmental conservation requires a new model that respects First Nations traditional use rights and spiritual values, while also protecting ecological and wilderness values,” said Duncan, “We have an incredible opportunity to do exactly that here in Qat’muk – and we’ll continue to push our governments to rise to that challenge.”

Wildsight and Kootenay locals have been fighting the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort for 26 years. The Jumbo Valley sits in the central Purcell Mountains, in a large unprotected area between the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy and Bugaboo Provincial Park and Glacier National Park to the north. Jumbo is internationally recognized as an important wildlife corridor for grizzlies to maintain healthy populations in the region and beyond.

“Jumbo is not an island and Jumbo can never truly be protected until the central Purcells are protected,” added Duncan in Victoria.

Mungall presents large petition to keep Jumbo wild

MLA Michelle Mungall presented a petition in the legislature signed by 61,526 people from the Kootenays and around the world who want to keep Jumbo wild.

Mungall points out that the sheer number of signatures prove that the people of the Kootenays want to keep the Jumbo Valley free of any development project and are supported in this initiative by people from all over the world.

Governing the Jumbo Valley, Qat’ Muk in Ktunaxa, is a fake town with a Mayor and Council and bank account serving no one.

“This fake town, which is actually just a slab of concrete buried in an avalanche path, has a mayor, a council, a bank account, and yet it serves no-one,” said Mungall. “Replying to my request to fold this fake town, Christy Clark’s Liberals said they want to see something ‘come to fruition.'”

“It’s time to put our energy into real projects that benefit real people in the Kootenays.”