Rocky Mountain High— Canada
10 Million Acres Preserved
Thursday, October 9, 1997

The single largest conservation plan went down in British Columbia, Canada, Wednesday when B.C. Premier Glen Clark announced the protection of over 10 million acres in the northern Rocky Mountains.

An area of 2.5 million acres, larger than Yellowstone National Park, was designated as wildlife parks and the surrounding 8 million acres was designated as specially managed, meaning any industrial efforts in the area will be regulated," Mary Granskou, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) said Wednesday.

"We're ecstatic," Granskou said just hours after the decision that will protect an area dubbed "The North American Serengeti" for its huge population of wildlife, especially large mammals. The decision results in the single largest conservation protection plan in the province's history and a plan Granskou calls "globally significant."

"This is a conservation decision that is being celebrated across the North," she said. "It's a new world model of conservation biology."

The announcement came after five-and-a-half years of talks by a broad coalition, including environmentalists, guides and the industries it is now protected against who, Granskou said, supported the initiative. "It's those people who have lived and sustained their livelihoods in this area who have cooperated in the preservation," she said. The park areas will now be forever free from oil, gas, hydro, logging and mining. These are now considered core protected areas surrounded by the 8 million specially managed areas, unlike Yellowstone where there is logging right up to the boundary of the park (which means death to stray wildlife).

It has been estimated this tract of land is home to: 27,000 moose;15,000 elk; 1000 wolves; 9,000 Stone's sheep; and, 500 grizzly bears, among others. This campaign is part of Canada's and the United States' American Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, according to CPAWS, "which aims to establish landscape links to preserve species in the Rocky Mountains— from Yellowstone in the south through Canada's Yukon territory in the north."

Sarah Love, Mountain Zone Staff

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