Columbia Basin Trust commits $1 million for conservation of Columbia Lake property
Located on the east shore of Columbia Lake, approximately five kilometres south of Fairmont Hot Springs, Lot 48 is 127 hectares of ecologically and culturally important private property sandwiched between protected areas and Crown land.
“CBT encourages long-term stewardship of the Basin’s natural assets, which is why we’re pleased we can provide support toward the conservation of Lot 48,” said Neil Muth, CBT President and CEO. “The purchase will not only help preserve the ecological and cultural values of Lot 48 itself, but of the entire east side of Columbia Lake.”
Columbia Lake and its shoreline hold great spiritual significance to the Ktunaxa Nation. The area features as the cradle of human life in the Ktunaxa Creation Story, and, for thousands of years, the Ktunaxa used the area as a transportation route to the prairies and built villages and camps there. They held ceremonial events there, plus harvested salmon, hunted game and gathered food in the area. Archaeological evidence remains, including pictographs and burial sites.
“The east side of Columbia Lake is an integral part of Ktunaxa history,” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Chair. “It is the foundation of the Ktunaxa Creation Story, and has been used by our people for thousands of years.”
“Lot 48 is a significant piece of the cultural landscape of that area. The Ktunaxa Nation supports all efforts to conserve this area for future generations, and we would like to commend Columbia Basin Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada for their work and dedication to this common goal.”
The property is bounded by Columbia Lake Provincial Park, the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area and the East Side Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area.
“Lot 48 is the last remaining unprotected parcel in a larger mosaic of protected lands, forming an essential contribution to a larger landscape,” said Linda Hannah, BC Regional Vice President, NCC. “Conserving this parcel will create an unbroken network of protected lands that will span more than 7,600 hectares.”
The area is home to mixed forests and grasslands that provide habitat for rare and endangered animal species like badgers, flammulated owls and grizzly bears. In addition, endangered plant communities like bluebunch wheatgrass and junegrass thrive on the land. Plus it provides valuable winter range for ungulates like bighorn sheep and elk.
“With this contribution CBT has provided foundational funding that takes us significantly closer to realizing our goal of conserving Lot 48 for now and forever,” said Hannah.
The entire cost of conserving Lot 48, including setting up a stewardship endowment, will come to $7.2 million. CBT is one of several confirmed funders; NCC is in the process of confirming other contributions in order to complete the purchase.
NCC is a national non-profit, non-advocacy organization that works to protect Canada’s most ecologically significant and threatened habitat. Learn more at www.natureconservancy.ca or call 1.800.404.8428.