NPCA Praises BC Premier Gordon Campbell for Important Step in Preserving Waterton, Glacier Parks; Looks forward to Next Steps

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   February 16, 2011
Contact:   Michael Jamison, Crown of the Continent Program Manager National Parks Conservation Association (406) 862-6722; mjamiston@npca.org


NPCA Praises BC Premier Gordon Campbell for Important Step in Preserving Waterton, Glacier Parks; Looks forward to Next Steps

“We look forward to seeing the details of this agreement to halt inappropriate mining in the Canadian wilderness adjacent to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and anticipate the introduction of a substantive protective measure for the Flathead in B.C.’s legislature. We also recognize the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell as he leaves office, in continuing to advance a 100-year-old vision to permanently protect one of the world’s most special places. It’s been more than a century since the first proposal to expand Waterton Lakes National Park into the BC Flathead, and we look forward to working with the incoming premier to complete this conservation legacy.

“Persistent coal strip-mining and coalbed methane extraction proposals in recent years have caused great concern on both sides of the international border surrounding Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park – the world’s first peace park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. In fall of 2009, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee sent an international team of scientists to ascertain threats posed by mining to the World Heritage site. The monitoring mission’s report concluded that mining activities in transboundary Flathead would irreversibly harm the region’s wilderness, water and wildlife values. Specifically, the World Heritage Committee found 1) that any mining in the transboundary Flathead would violate the World Heritage Convention, and 2) that a mining ban should be enacted in both countries, and 3) a wildlife management area be established to ensure long-term wildlife connectivity between Waterton-Glacier and the Banff World Heritage site to the north.

“We look forward to working with the next premier to implement and enact these findings and complete the world’s first international peace park.”


Additional statements from local stakeholders

Brace Hayden, VP, Flathead Coalition:

"The Flathead Coalition has bird-dogged the threat of industrial mining and energy development in the North Fork Flathead River since 1975.  We are very pleased that Senator Baucus, Governor Schweitzer, Premiere Campbell and Senator Tester have worked together to improve protection in the British Columbia headwaters.  However, work remains to fully protect this vital watershed, on both sides of the border.”


Rachel Potter, North Fork Landowner:

“As a North Fork landowner I am grateful that Montana and British Columbia elected officials have responded to public pressure with this protection.  However, we’re all aware that additional measures are needed to fully protect Glacier Park and our pristine water for our children.”


Randy Gaynor, Owner, Montana Raft Company:

“As an outdoor tourism business owner in the Flathead Valley, I fully support today’s agreements and announcements.  Protecting the North Fork Flathead also protects Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, which everyone knows is a key economic engine for the region.  Let’s complete the protection for this watershed on both sides of the border.”


Flannery Coats, Owner, Polebridge Mercantile:

“This announcement is good news for downstream businesses in the North Fork, and throughout Montana’s Flathead. Our family’s business model flows directly from the clean, clear headwaters of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. It’s the reason we live here, and it’s the reason our customers come to visit. We’re encouraged that work continues toward permanent protections in the transboundary Crown of Continent region.”

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