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Lower Kootenay Band and Retallack partner to propose adventure tourism tenure

April 16, 2018
The proposed location is on the east side of Kootenay Lake, south of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy.

April 16, 2018

Creston, British Columbia, Canada

The Lower Kootenay Band (yaqan nuʔkiy) and Retallack have partnered to provide a range of guided adventure tourism activities, both summer and winter, within the Ktunaxa Traditional Territory (Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis) in the Southern Purcell Mountains.

The partners have jointly submitted an application for an innovative adventure tourism tenure on the east side of Kootenay Lake, south the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. The proposed 70,000 ha (177,000 acre) multiple use tenure will allow for guided hiking, horseback riding, climbing and mountain biking in summer and guided ski touring, heliskiing, mountaineering, snowshoeing and dogsledding in winter.

“We are interested in developing an innovative, diverse and sustainable adventure tourism economy for the long-term well-being of the Ktunaxa people and local communities. We are pleased to partner with Retallack who has a proven local track record of business turnarounds, operational excellence, environmental leadership and innovative growth expansion into new markets. In our opinion this application presents a model of stewardship, that balances local environmental, social, cultural, and economic values,” said Chief Jason Louie.

“It is important to note that the proposed tenure area is not in current or recently proposed Federal or Provincial Caribou habitat. With the exception of the construction of a limited number of mountain biking trails, the application proposes to use the current land base ‘as-is.’ No new roads will be constructed and old growth, including the sacred White Pine, will be protected. This will help with the ongoing preservation of wild spaces. In keeping with Ktunaxa values there are also a number of innovative conservation strategies that have been proposed, for example, the use of wildlife technicians who will facilitate better ongoing monitoring and management and the commitment in our management plan for our operations to remain carbon neutral or even negative,” said Curtis Wullum, LKB Director of Development Services.

“By proposing this locally-based project we are looking to help create and support long-term local employment and existing businesses but also shape this operation so that it becomes an example of how to create and manage a sustainable operation that benefits the public, the Ktunaxa people and the habitat that we share with wildlife. We are entering a new age of reconciliation and we are excited with our new First Nations partnership. For over 13,000 years, the yaqan nuʔkiy have inhabited the Kootenays. Their local land management and wildlife knowledge is second-to-none. There are many First Nations values and principles that can be applied to enable this to become a model of stewardship that is reflective of and adaptive to public and wildlife concerns. We therefore remain open to public consultation and suggestions for improvements to this application,” said Chris McNamara, Retallack CEO.

Read More: Wildsight, locals weigh in on proposed tenure from Retallack and Lower Kootenay Band

To submit additional comments and suggestions please E-mail

About yaqan nuʔkiy (Lower Kootenay Band)

Historically and since time immemorial, the yaqan nuʔkiy were the original inhabitants of the Lower Kootenay area. The name yaqan nuʔkiy literally means “where the rock stands” and refers to an important place in the Creston Valley.

The yaqan nuʔkiy is one of six bands that make up the Ktunaxa Nation. Four of the bands are located in British Columbia and two in the United States:

• yaqan nuʔkiy – Lower Kootenay Band (Creston, BC)

• ʔakisq̓ nuk – Columbia Lake Band (Windermere, BC)

• ʔaq̓ am – St. Mary’s Band (Cranbrook, BC)

• ʔakink̓ umǂasnuqǂiʔit – Tobacco Plains Band (Grasmere, BC)

• ʔaq̓ anqmi – Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (Bonners Ferry, Idaho)

• k̓upawi¢q̓nuk–KsankaBand(Elmo,Montana)

The Traditional Territory of the Ktunaxa Nation covers approximately 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) within the Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia and historically included parts of Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho.

The people of yaqan nuʔkiy speak the Ktunaxa language which is one of the eleven original aboriginal language families in Canada. The language is an isolate and is not related to any other language in the world.

About Retallack

Retallack is based in Nelson, BC and provides world-class backcountry catskiing, snowboarding and mountain biking adventures in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, Canada.

Retallack was the first operator in its industry to receive a prestigious 4-Green Key Eco-Rating for demonstrating “national industry leadership and commitment to protecting the environment through wide ranging policies and practices.”

Corey Bullock

About the Author: Corey Bullock

Corey Bullock is a multimedia journalist and writer who grew up in Burlington, Ontario.
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