© Garth Lenz, iLCP
Last month, I wrote about mountaintop removal mining threatening one of North America’s wildest valleys and the passionate coalition of conservation groups working to protect the Flathead. And yesterday, those conservation groups WON!
The news was unexpected—and it was big. The Province of British Columbia today announced a ban on all mining, oil and gas development in B.C.’s Flathead River Valley. The ban was announced by Lt.-Gov. Steven Point in a speech from the throne taking place just days before the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver.
The ban satisfies a major goal conservation groups have been working toward for several years in their bid to protect the globally-significant values of the Flathead River Valley.
“Mining, oil and gas development and coalbed gas extraction will not be permitted in British Columbia’s Flathead Valley,” said Point.
John Bergenske, executive director of Wildsight, praised the government’s initiative and saw it as a first step in thoroughly protecting the Flathead.
“This is an important announcement,” Bergenske said. “We applaud the government for doing the right thing for the Flathead River Valley. It’s a giant step, it’s in the right direction.“…
“It is the right move for the government to make. Now we’re looking for them to complete the package—by creating a wildlife management area that protects connectivity and by establishing a national park—so the core values of the Flathead River Valley are protected for all Canadians and the world,” said Sarah Cox, Sierra Club BC spokesperson.
In a day and age when we are faced with extremely tough conservation challenges actions like this one make for an incredibly sweet victory. Congratulations to those who fought to protect this wild place for all of us now — and future generations. Keep up the great work!
To stay updated on the campaign to make the Flathead a national park, stay tuned at Flathead Wild.