piq kiʔláwnaʔ (New Denver – Kaslo Corridor) is a wild place. Grizzly bears, wolverines, mountain goats, and western toads live here. A range of mountain slope, alpine, wetland, valley bottom and old growth forest habitats provide healthy and diverse ecosystems which biologists have documented as exceptionally rich. These are also key to maintaining water quality and quantity, and buffering the effects of climate change.
The London Ridge area is notable for its huckleberry patches which, since the extirpation of salmon in this region, have become a key food source for grizzlies. These include the “white” variation of the grizzly bear, sacred to the Sinixt people. This region is essential for grizzly and wolverine connectivity between Goat Range and Kokanee Glacier Provincial Parks.
Few such untrammeled places remain on Earth, where wilderness reigns and is still accessible so people can experience our wild connection to nature. The Whitewater Canyon trail is popular with locals and visitors for grizzly and wildflower viewing. Yet, the balance is delicate. Land use change continues to be the largest of the biodiversity threats and the UN calls for bolder, more ambitious conservation efforts to bend the curve of biodiversity loss (see IIASA report on biodiversity loss). piq kiʔláwnaʔ needs to be preserved as part of the federal government terrestrial conservation target of 30% lands and waters by 2030. We need landscape level planning that takes into account all uses and cumulative effects to ensure that both wildlife and people can thrive in this region.