Similkameen Valley Smeqlmix Conservation Areas

 

Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB) has been wanting to protect important parts of their ancestral territory for centuries, and is working now to create three new IPCAs in the Tulameen Watershed, the Ashnola River Corridor, and the Ollala Highlands

 

These areas cover nearly 300,000 hectares of culturally and ecologically significant landscapes.

The need to create these IPCAs came out of community engagement with smelqmix elders and community members as part of the process to establish a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

The new IPCAs would create a new regime of ecosystem and smelqmix based forestry practices, which would conserve and restore forested and grassland habitats that support many species at risk, and provide cultural sustenance and sustainability practices

The Way

Part 1 – Fire

Part 2 – Water

Part 3 – Land

Traditional Law Training Session

The Places

Tulameen Watershed

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Highly important area for food sourcing and medicine gathering for smelqmix

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This area is the most intact, and unprotected, headwater area of the Similkameen River, an increasingly important body of water that provides climate change resiliency to the entire valley

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Under threat from forestry and mining, and climate change impacts

Ashnola River Corridor

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Highly intact area important for connectivity at higher elevations and through the river valley that connects Manning Provincial Park to the Snowy Protected Area

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Supports important wildlife populations like ungulates and grizzly bears

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Under threat from forestry, fires, and other climate change impacts 

Ollala Highlands

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Home to endangered ponderosa pine ecosystems and grasslands

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Important cultural hunting and gathering area, prioritized by community members for access to foods and medicines

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Under threat from forestry and grazing

Next Steps

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This proposal has been brought to the provincial government, but no action has been taken to engage in discussions on advancing the creation of these IPCAs

Under the BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the province is mandated to engage with First Nations on matters related to land use, which includes this proposal

The LSIB is inviting the province to engage in discussions on the creation of these new IPCAs and work jointly on protecting important habitat and help restore the landscapes that have sustained the smelqmix peoples for millennia

Learn More

Contact

Inquiries or support for the Similkameen Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) can be directed to Lauren Terbasket and Gwen Bridge via the button below.

About the Smelqmix

Learn more about the Smalqmix of the Sukwnaqin-x. Visit the Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB) website.