The Valhalla Wilderness Society
Valhalla Provincial Park stretches from the far shore of Slocan Lake in British Columbia, Canada, to the mountaintops.
Valhalla Provincial Park was created in 1983 after eight years of hard-won battle by the Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS). 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. The charitable organization 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 British Columbia needs another dramatic increase in the percent of parks. Why?
Clearcut logging and other development has occurred far out of balance with protected lands. BC now has 1,500 species at risk, and a unique, large mammal — the southern mountain caribou, found nowhere else in the world — is in very serious danger of being wiped out entirely because of excessive logging and other misuse of its habitat.
VWS has proposed two new parks to protect old-growth Inland Temperate Rainforest for mountain caribou, grizzly bears and many small rainforest species.
Proposed Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park
This park proposal is the subject of a film by award-winning filmmaker Damien Gillis (Fractured Land, Oil in Eden): Primeval: Enter the Incomappleux. This 20-minute documentary was an official selection of the prestigious Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It presents the majesty, magic and endurance of one of the world’s last truly ancient inland temperate rainforests, located in the Incomappleux Valley. Public access to the old-growth 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. Now, after a Herculean filmmaking expedition, with Primeval, audiences can experience the splendour of interior British Columbia’s ancient forest. The film toured the province in the fall of 2016 and the spring, summer and fall of 2017. To learn about new showings, check this site or call the Valhalla Wilderness Society. VWS hopes to make the film available online in the coming year. 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.
Learn more about the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal.
Discover the proposed Quesnel Lake Wilderness
The Valhalla Wilderness Society
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These bears in the Kootenays have thrilled hundreds of people while fishing for Kokanee, a landlocked salmon. Yet even with a trophy hunting ban, they can be shot by any licensed hunter claiming them for meat.
Thousands of people across Canada were celebrating 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! This was a shock because, previously, virtually all hunting of grizzly bears was trophy hunting, except for First Nations traditional hunting (which no one has opposed). Many hunters say the meat is tough, greasy, and bad-tasting. Up until now the government has classified grizzly bears with non-game animals, such as wolverines, wolves and cougars; the wildlife regulations explicitly allowed hunters to leave the meat on the ground and take only trophy parts.
Whether to have a meat hunt has received no public consultation. Instead the public was invited to comment on how the meat hunt should be regulated. The proposed regulations would be very difficult to enforce and will not prevent hunting grizzly bears for sport.
On October 14, 2017, 45 environmental and animal welfare organizations, plus wildlife-based businesses and prominent scientists, photographers and grizzly bear activists, sent 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.
45-signator Open Letter to Government
Download the Press Release
Valhalla Wilderness Society’s letter to government
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
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
VWS report to Enbridge Pipeline Review:
ONE MAJOR SPILL COULD WIPE OUT A CORE SPIRIT BEAR POPULATION
Gribbell 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.
Final announcement February 1, 2016.
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