Next Creek Watershed

Completing the Darkwoods puzzle

A hike on Darkwoods offers stunning views of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Mountains to the east. (Photo by Gordon MacPherson)

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Next Creek is a 19,500-acre (7,900-hectare) property that extends from Kootenay Lake into the centre of Darkwoods. It is the last, missing piece in a vast conservation landscape that extends over 1,100 km2.

Here, wildlife has room to roam. Alpine lakes feed creeks and rivers that tumble through inland temperate rainforest and eventually merge with the deep waters of Kootenay Lake. Fish and amphibians thrive in these waterways, which also supply clean, fresh water for local communities. 

Click the image to enlarge.

A network of public and private conservation lands has been established to connect and protect the natural abundance and productive ecosystems found in this mountainous region. Yet in the centre of this network, a privately managed forestry property poses great risk to the integrity of the overall area if left unprotected.

The threat of intensified industrial or recreational activity hanging over this land makes the conservation of the Next Creek watershed our highest priority in BC.

With your help, Next Creek can remain a wild refuge for the many plants and animals that depend on the ecological health of this mountain range. There won’t be a second chance.

Marmots are a favourite food source for wolverine, one of them most elusive animals found on Darkwoods  (Photo by Bruce Kirkby)
Fresh water from 17 watersheds flows through Darkwoods. (Photo by Bruce Kirkby)

 

Why now?

After a decade of dialogue and negotiation, NCC has secured an exclusive arrangement to purchase the Next Creek property. If we are not successful in raising the necessary funds to make this purchase, these valuable timber lands will go on the public market.

See for yourself: Take a walk on a ridgeline in Darkwoods

You can get a first-hand look at the stunning landscape of Darkwoods and Next Creek by taking a virtual walk along a ridgeline and down to an alpine lake, via Google Trekker. The trek takes you through a forest of alpine larch and whitebark pine (endangered tree!), and offers panoramic views of the mountains and valleys of Darkwoods.

 

 

Over 120 lakes are found on Darkwoods. (Photo by Bruce Kirkby)
Darkwoods provide essential habitat for a threatened population of grizzly bears. (Photo by Grant MacHutchon)

 

Global significance

This project is of international significance and is a rare opportunity for conservation-minded investors to contribute to direct landscape-level change. Governments, conservation organizations and local communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border have invested in safeguarding the ecological integrity of this broad landscape. Next Creek is key to that integrity.

Conserving the Next Creek watershed offers a chance to restore previously logged areas on the property. By extending existing restoration programs currently underway on Darkwoods into these adjacent lands, the net benefit for wildlife and rare plants will be significantly enhanced.

Read more about why Darkwoods matters >>

Hiking on Darkwoods is rugged; back-country experience is recommended. (Photo by Bruce Kirkby)
The forests of Darkwoods get most of their moisture from snow. (Photo by Bruce Kirkby)

 

What is a snowforest?

Inland temperate rainforests derive most of their moisture from snow. These globally-rare “snowforests” shelter grizzly bear, wolf, wolverine and deer. They also support some of the highest tree diversity in British Columbia. Western red cedar, western hemlock, western larch, Douglas-fir, western white pine, Engelmann spruce, trembling aspen and paper birch are just some of the many tree species found here. Notably, the endangered whitebark pine is maintaining a strong and healthy presence on Darkwoods.

No other interior temperate zone harbours such an abundance of plants and animals. Yet this globally unique landscape is under tremendous pressure from unsustainable resource extraction and high-impact recreation.

Adding the Next Creek watershed to the Darkwoods Conservation Area is an unmatched opportunity to protect even more of the vanishing inland temperate rainforest, including priceless stands of old-growth snowforest.

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For more information please reach out to:

Michael Curnes
michael.curnes@natureconservancy.ca
1-888-404-8428