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Letter: Keep the central Selkirks wild — Wildsight

To The Editor:

Environmental organizations are concerned about the proposal to build a massive ski resort between Kaslo and New Denver.

The Zincton resort will host up to 1,500 skiers daily, a real estate and village development in the middle of the mountains, and year-round recreation in the middle of important wildlife habitat.

The Central Selkirks are the most heavily-tenured adventure tourism area of the province. Intensive backcountry development and recreation are already stressing sensitive wildlife populations. 

More people, more buildings and a developed ski resort will intensify the problems already  that wildlife face in these mountains.

The Central Selkirk Mountains are a crucial connectivity link and core habitat for grizzly bears and wolverines. Development within the corridor, including a real estate development, and intensive skiing and biking, will displace grizzlies and wolverines from important habitat and threaten connectivity.”

Areas north of highway 31A have amongst the highest wolverine density in the West Kootenay region. We’re concerned that the project will result in habitat loss for females in particular who are very sensitive to disturbance.

While Zincton proposes fewer skiers than a traditional ski hill, the development would still see up to 1,500 skiers per day in a concentrated area, far more than typical backcountry use. Zincton would include multiple lifts, glading and trails for winter and summer use. This intensive recreational use and development is likely to drive sensitive species like grizzly bears, wolverines and goats out of the area. While the resort is selling itself as a sustainable development, it’s impact on wildlife would be high. 

This proposal puts a small town and ski area right in the middle of the Selkirk Mountains in a key grizzly bear and wolverine connectivity corridor. Adding hundreds of cars daily to Highway 31A, plus the development itself, could cut-off a small population of bears on the south side of the highway from the larger population to the north.

Existing ski resorts already have trouble filling the beds they have and another ski resort will cause lasting damage to an area in need of greater protections, not less.

We need to support the developments we already have here in the Kootenay region. Not build more of them.

There’s already a lot of stress on wildlife in the Selkirks. Adding a huge resort in the middle of the mountains is going to make things a whole lot worse.

"We need land use decisions to be focused on overall ecosystem health.

Wildsight is asking anyone with concerns about this proposal to speak up.

Visit https://secure.wildsight.ca/zincton#takeaction.

Eddie Petryshen, Wildsight conservation coordinator

 

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