Plans to build a year round ski area on a pristine site on the BC side of the provincial border with Alberta in Canada appear to finally be over.
The plans for Jumbo Glacier were first mooted almost 30 years ago back in the early 1990s and the project has ridden the wave of public opinion and political changes over the decades. Five or so years ago it appeared that it might finally be coming close to actually happening as the site was given official status, some statutory state funding and the first base buildings almost appeared.
But construction in zones with high avalanche risk and on land that was both of high environmental value and sacred to the Ktunaxa First Nation who have lived in the region for centuries, appears to have finally killed it off. A 2009 study had found an estimated 500 grizzly bears lived in the area and in 2015 Sweetgrass Productions sponsored by eco-aware clothing company Patagonia produced a film. (Keep) ‘Jumbo Wild’ as part of the campaign against the proposed resort.
Now in the latest twist in the long running saga the federal and B.C. governments are reported to be turning over around 600 square kilometres of land where jumbo Glacier was to have been built to local Indigenous people to manage as an Indigenous Protected Area, helped along with a $21 million state funding package.
The company behind the Jumbo Glacier project, which envisaged several dozen lifts, a sizable resort base and the first year-round ski area in North America, has received an undisclosed payout to walk away. Canada is reporting to be aiming to ensure at least 25% of its land is given ‘protected area’ status by 2025.