B.C. acquires land for Purcell Wilderness Conservancy
To protect ecologically sensitive areas and enhance outdoor recreation, the B.C. government announced last week it has acquired more than 650 hectares of land intended to be added to 16 provincial parks and two protected areas.
Included in that is an 18-ha addition to the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy.
The land, purchased for $640 800, is located along the east shore of Kootenay Lake (at Birchdale), south of Fry Creek and Johnsons Landing.
Acquisition of this waterfront parcel reduces the number of inholdings in the southern section of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy, government information noted.
“The Purcell Wilderness Area embraces six large drainages, three flowing east to the Columbia River system and three flowing west to Kootenay Lake. It is a challenging, undeveloped nearly pristine mountain landscape encompassing five biogeoclimatic zones and the only intact ecosystem in southeastern B.C. Wilderness recreation values include hunting, fishing, hiking, cultural sites, climbing and wildlife viewing.”
“Our parks and protected areas are among the natural treasures of our province and play an important role in our overall health and well-being, especially during COVID-19,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These areas also provide critical habitat to a number of species. Acquiring additional land means more species and ecosystems will be protected and the land will be here for generations to come.”
Through the acquisition of private land and partnerships with conservation groups and individual donors, the province regularly adds land to the parks and protected areas system, which is one of the largest park systems in the world. The newly acquired land is valued at more than $9.7 million.
When the province acquires new land, there are several steps before it can become a park or protected area. This includes engagement with Indigenous nations, consultation with local government, defining a legal boundary and legal designation.
British Columbia has 1,035 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering more than 14 million hectares, or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base. During the last three years, 883 hectares of land have been acquired for parks and protected areas.
Lead image: The Kootenay Lake property. Image from 2019-20 land acquisition report