Statement on British Columbia Most Endangered River Report

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   March 25, 2008
Contact:   Will Hammerquist, Glacier Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, 406-862-6722
Mark Angelo, Rivers Chair BC Outdoor Recreation Council, 604-432-8270


Statement on British Columbia Most Endangered River Report

By Will Hammerquist, Glacier Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association

The Annual BC Endangered Rivers Report, released today by British Columbia’s largest coalition of outdoor recreation groups, listed the Flathead River as the second most endangered river in British Columbia. The National Parks Conservation Association believes that this report is a call to action for everyone who cares about the integrity of the Flathead River, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and the greater Crown of the Continent ecosystem. 

This report shows that concerns over the proposed industrialization of one of the wildest and most pristine landscapes in North America are not constrained by nationality. Together, Canadians and Americans share the Flathead River and together we must build a long-term solution that protects the Flathead River and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park for future generations.

Excerpt from BC Outdoor Recreation Council Press Release:

In a tie for second spot this year is the Flathead River, which flows through southeastern BC into Montana. The Flathead, which topped last year’s list, is widely considered one of North America’s wildest and most beautiful waterways. The river supports important trans-boundary fish populations while also sustaining perhaps the highest density of inland grizzly bears anywhere in North America, along with many other wildlife species. Yet, while the US section is protected, the BC stretch faces a number of threats, the most prominent being the proposed Cline open pit coal mine. Given the size and location of the mine in the river’s headwaters, water quality would be impacted and recreational, wildlife and wilderness values would be greatly compromised. For these reasons, the public’s response during the review process has been overwhelmingly against the mine.

“No other region along the Canada/US border sustains such a diversity of wildlife and ecosystems,” notes Mark Angelo. “And while mining is a major industry in our province, many British Columbians also believe that there are places with exceptional values that are just not appropriate to mine – and the Flathead River is one of them.”

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Since 1919, the nonpartisan NPCA has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its 340,000 members, and many partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come. 

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