Please sign and share Valhalla’s online petition to create the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park!

The Valhalla Wilderness Society

Mountain Sun Beams

The Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS) is a registered charity that was founded in 1975, in the small village of New Denver, British Columbia, Canada. The village sits on Slocan Lake, with a grand view of Valhalla Provincial Park, achieved by the Society in 1983. VWS went on to successfully spearhead campaigns for the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, Goat Range Provincial Park, and the Spirit Bear Conservancies on Princess Royal Island. VWS also played one of the key roles in the protection of South Moresby National Park Reserve. Its Endangered Wilderness Map of 1988 initiated the movement to double BC’s park system to 12% of the province. Valhalla has led park campaigns that now protect over 560,000 hectares. The work resulted in numerous national and international conservation awards received by Chairperson Colleen McCrory.

Today VWS remains dedicated to the role of fully protected areas in maintaining biodiversity. It is working on park proposals in BC’s Inland Rainforest Region, on the coast, and in the Chilcotin region. However, there are many environmental impacts today that have no borders, such as climate change, or the threat of an oil spill from tankers on the coast, or threats to wildlife. VWS has been involved in many activities trying to stop such impacts.

Primeval:  Enter the Incomappleux

From award-winning documentary filmmaker Damien Gillis (Fractured Land, Oil in Eden) and Valhalla Wilderness Society comes a new film of breathtaking beauty, Primeval: Enter the Incomappleux – official selection of the prestigious Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. Filmed on location deep in the heart of BC’s Selkirk Mountains, this 20-minute documentary is the story of the majesty, magic and endurance of one of the world’s last truly ancient inland temperate rainforests – the incomparable Incomappleux.

Following an expedition of conservationists, biologists and wilderness explorers, Gillis documents the nature and history of this unique place – replete with rare lichens and 2,000-year-old trees – along with a plan to preserve it through a new provincial or Canadian park, the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal. This forest has been growing continuously since the last ice age. But in recent decades, most of the ancient rainforest in the Incomappleux Valley has been destroyed by logging. The magnificent core that is left is part of a 27,000-hectare intact wilderness contiguous to Glacier National Park.  It has been spared only by the hard work of a small band of defenders – and remains under threat to this day.

Public access to the ancient forest has always been difficult, but in recent years, bridge and road washouts have closed it to all but a handful of hardy adventurers who could backpack there. Few people have seen it since. Now, after a Herculean filmmaking expedition, with Primeval, you will soon be able to experience the Incomappleux for yourself in all its splendour. Primeval toured the province in the fall of 2016 and the spring and summer of 2017.  To learn about new showings, check this site or call the Valhalla Wilderness Society. The film will eventually be available for purchase on video.  In the meantime, please enjoy Damien Gillis’s trailer, which is a poem in itself, and sign the petition by clicking on the link at the top.

The Valhalla Wilderness Society

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44 SIGNATORS SAY GRIZZLY BEAR ‘MEAT’ HUNT WILL BE A TROPHY HUNT IN DISGUISE

These bears have thrilled hundreds of viewers while fishing for land-locked salmon in the Kootenays, but they can be shot by hunters under the pretense of hunting for food.

Thousands of people across Canada were applauding the BC government’s new ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears, when there came a rude awakening: hunting of grizzly bears will continue, under the claim of hunting for meat. The only area of BC receiving a new total hunting ban is in the Great Bear Rainforest, but it covers only a tiny percentage of grizzly bear habitat in BC.

Canadians had asked for an end to trophy hunting for a good reason: virtually all hunting of grizzly bears was trophy hunting, except for First Nations traditional hunting, which no one has opposed. The meat does not taste good to many hunters. So much is this so, that grizzly bears have previously been classed with non-game animals, such as wolverines, wolves and cougars. For years the wildlife regulations have explicitly allowed hunters to leave the meat on the ground and take only trophy parts.

On October 6, 2017, 38 animal and nature organizations, plus wildlife-based businesses and prominent grizzly bear activists, signed an open letter to the BC government saying that they want a total ban on grizzly bear hunting, with the exception of jointly-regulated First Nations ceremonial and sustenance hunting. They believe the “meat hunt” will be a trophy hunt in disguise. Even if hunters leave the head, hide and claws behind, they will take away trophy videos, photographs and bragging rights. The bears will still be killed for sport. The meat can be thrown away or fed to dogs.

The open letter disputes the BC government’s view that hunting is not a threat to the long term persistence of grizzly bears. Grizzly bears are a species at risk that has already been wiped out in parts of BC. Humans are killing too many grizzly bears by poaching, habitat destruction and human conflicts. Further hunting only adds to their deaths.

Presently the government is holding a quick public consultation before bringing in new regulations in early November. The process only considers how to regulate the possession of grizzly bear trophy parts, not whether there should be a meat hunt. You can find two documents on the proposed new policies on the government website, and email your response, at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/.

Download the 44-signator Open Letter to Government

Download the Press Release


BC Government Plan for HUNTER-FUNDED Wildlife Agency Denounced by 23 Wildlife Organizations and Businesses

Before the recent election the BC government announced plans to turn the management of the province’s wildlife over to non-government agency funded by the sales of hunting licences. Twenty-two organizations and businesses  involved in protecting wildlife have issued an open letter to the BC government with scathing criticism of the plan. They have urged the
government to 1) scrap the proposal for a separate agency; 2) increase the wildlife management staff and funding of government ministries; 3) shift the focus of wildlife management from juggling numbers of game animals for
hunters, to applying the science of ecology; and 4) recognize that only about 2% of the total BC population are registered hunters, whereas a huge majority of British Columbians care about the welfare of our wildlife and ecosystems.

Download the Open Letter to the BC Government


Blue-Listed Western Toads Threatened by NACFOR Logging

Toad vs Grader

Toadlets found squashed in the road while NACFOR prepares to log

A recent photo and video expedition has revealed thousands of Western Toads are dispersing into their forested habitat that is slated to be imminently logged. The images and video show toads under logging equipment, on logging roads as well as on branch roads into the logging cut blocks. Branch roads were constructed in February 2016. Two weeks ago, NACFOR had started grading the logging roads while hundreds of toads were migrating across it.

“Now they have brought in a feller-buncher, which means logging could begin at any time,” says Craig Pettitt, a director of the Valhalla Wilderness Society. “We recorded young toads all around their machine. We are outraged that the government and NACFOR would allow logging in critical toad habitat when it is clear toads will be killed left, right and centre.”

Read the full Press Release
To View the Video: https://youtu.be/peK9lE8YrWo


One Major Spill Could Wipe Out a Core Spirit Bear Population

VWS report to Enbridge Pipeline Review:

ONE MAJOR SPILL COULD WIPE OUT A CORE SPIRIT BEAR POPULATION

SpiritBearcroppedGribbell Island lies in one of the most treacherous marine passages on the BC north where hundreds of huge tankers would carry Enbridge’s deadly tarsands bitumen to China and other markets. In 2012 VWS biologist Wayne McCrory completed a report on the threat of a oil tanker spill to the bears of Gribbell Island and other coastal wildlife. A comparison of the claims made by the Enbridge environmental impact assessment with the facts of what actually happened in the Exxon Valdez oil spill shows that Enbridge enormously under-estimates the risks and impacts of a spill. Since all of the 100-150 black and white-phase Kermode bears would use the marine shoreline of Gribbell for travel and feeding on marine life, a major tanker spill would cause irreparable and long-term harm to this genetically unique “mother island of the white bears”.

Click here to download Wayne McCrory’s oral presentation of this VWS report, and more, to the Joint Review Panel on Enbridge, on January 28, 2013.


More Protection for the Great Bear Rainforest

Final announcement February 1, 2016.

Spirit Bear Mother and Cub

Spirit Bear Mother and Cub

On February 1, 2016, the province and coastal First Nations announced the “final” protection agreement for the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) on the BC coast. Since 1/3 of the GBR was protected in 2006, ten years of negotiations between the larger environmental groups, forest companies and coastal First Nations finally resulted in a GBR conservation agreement. Part of this can be found at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/TASB/SLRP/LRMP/Nanaimo/CLUDI/GBR/Orders/GBR_LUO_Signed_29Jan2016.pdf

There is some cause for celebration since noteworthy improvements have been made in coastal logging guidelines and in adding 10 new partially protected areas which brings the grand total of parks, conservancies and partial protection designations to 38% overall. This is near to the minimum of 40-50% full protection agreed to in 2004 in a landmark GBR-ENGO protocol. One of our favourite watersheds, The Green, will be protected, but unfortunately, Gribbell Island, mother island of the white bears won’t be. Also will be some reduction of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.
Read the full review


Valhalla Wilderness Society

© 2016, Valhalla Wilderness Society