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A 58,000 hectare area near Revelstoke has been given conservancy status to protect biologically unique and old growth forests.
On Wednesday, Premier David Eby announced the new Incomappleux Conservancy which is part of BC's rare inland temperate rainforest and is home to old growth cedar and hemlock trees.
Some of those trees are estimated to be four metres in diameter and more than 1,000 years old while the forest supports more than 250 species of lichen and provides critical habitat to grizzly and black bears.
“Protecting our wild spaces for generations to come is one of the most important things we are doing to create a healthier future,” said Premier David Eby.
“Our actions to preserve the Incomappleux Valley and its rare ecosystem will make this one of the most significant protected areas established in the province in a decade.”
In addition to the 58,654 hectare conservancy, which is about the size of 150 Stanley Parks, another 17,000 hectares has been labelled off limits to forestry activities.
The conservancy, which shares a border with the Glacier National Park, was created to protect the rich and unique biodiversity within the valley.
BC only has two temperate rainforest – one on the West Coast and the other in the Interior.
The BC interior is home to one of the few inland rainforests in the world and is about 1.4 million hectares, stretching roughly 550 km along the western slopers of the Rocky and Columbia mountains.
“The Incomappleux Valley is a precious old-growth forest, which our Sinixt ancestors protected and sustained since time immemorial,” said Jarred-Michael Erickson, chairman, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Sn̓ʕaýckstx (Sinixt) Confederacy.
“Shuswap appreciates that other important considerations are emerging in the forest sector other than fibre. We feel that stewardship of the lands and resources is long overdue and that this transfer is a step in the right direction,” said a spokesperson for the Shuswap Band Chief and Council.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is facilitating and funding the conservancy and protections with support from the federal and provincial governments, local First Nations and individual donors.