© Garth Lenz, iLCP
If you’ve ever set foot in the Flathead River Valley, you can feel confident in saying it is one of the world’s most beautiful wild places. With miles of pristine, free-flowing river, abundant wildlife and rugged peaks as far as the eye can see, this contiguous block of wilderness is impressive to say the least. But proposed mountaintop removal mining in southeastern British Columbia, Canada is threatening the headwaters of one of America’s most endangered rivers and one of North America’s wildest remaining valley.
A new film from the Epicocity Project, called Flathead WILD, follows the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) as they descended on the Flathead River Valley for a R.A.V.E. — a rapid assessment visual expedition. Along with local conservation groups, they captured breathtaking and iconic images of the threatened ecosystem. iLCP is now using these images to act as tools for the Flathead Wild coalition to help tip the scales in favor of protection and conservation.
“We need strong, credible images to give a voice to places that cannot speak for themselves,” said Cristina Mittermeier, iLCP’s executive director. “It’s so easy for mining companies to claim that there’s nothing in the Flathead — so we used our cameras to show how much there is to be lost. Images are irrefutable evidence of the beauty of our planet and the critical resources we can’t afford to lose.”
© Joe Riis, iLCP
The Flathead Valley is comprised of nearly 400,000 acres of wilderness located in southeastern British Columbia, straddling the Canada/U.S. border. Home to the most grizzly bears per acre of anywhere in the interior of North America and the pristine Flathead River, the Flathead Valley is the only unsettled, low-elevation valley of its kind in Western Canada.
“Change is inevitable, but we have the opportunity here to protect an irreplaceable wildland and natural resource. If we let the Flathead fall to mining pressures — we will never be able to bring it back,” said Ryland Nelson, the Southern Rockies program coordinator of Wildsight. “With a free-flowing, pristine river and the highest concentration of inland grizzlies in North America, the Flathead Valley is one of the most biologically important places on earth — we have to act now for our environment, wildlife and present and future generations.”
Learn more about the Flathead WILD campaign and take action HERE. See below for a small gallery of iLCP Flathead RAVE photos. All photos © iLCP.