Elk Valley Heritage Conservation Area
The Wigwam River on Mt Broadwood, in the Elk Valley Heritage Conservation Area. (Photo by Lyle Grisdale)
The Elk Valley is a critically important wildlife corridor that accommodates the north-south movement of wide-ranging carnivores, particularly grizzly bear, wolf, wolverine and lynx. Although the area has undergone some industrial development for resource extraction over the past 50 years (logging, linear corridor development and road building), it remains remarkably intact in terms of biological integrity. The existence of healthy populations of carnivores throughout the North American Rocky Mountains depends on the continued existence of populations in the Elk Valley.
The Elk Valley Heritage Conservation Area is a conservation assembly that encompasses 32,500 acres (13,100 hectares) along the Elk River near Fernie, British Columbia. These lands include low-lying wetlands, mixed grassland-forest complexes and steep, forested uplands. Most significantly, these lands are documented high-value "linkage corridors" for large carnivores moving north-south through the valley. In order to effectively conserve wide ranging carnivore populations in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Ecoregion, NCC decided to make conservation of the three very high value linkage corridors in the Elk Valley a top priority for program implementation
The Elk Valley Heritage Conservation Area includes NCC-owned lands in addition to conservation covenants on lands owned by Tembec.
A hiker on Mt Broadwood (Photo by NCC)
At the heart of the conservation assembly is Mt Broadwood, a 21,000-acre (8,950-hectare) mountain property that was donated to NCC by Shell Canada in 1992.
Mount Broadwood supports the full suite of large animals that roam throughout this region. Notably, the conservation area protects outstanding wintering grounds for bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer. Other resident wildlife include moose, elk, grizzly and black bear, grey wolf, cougar, wolverine, badger, fisher and Rocky Mountain tailed frog.
The Wigwam River that flows through the property supports some of the largest cutthroat trout in southeastern British Columbia and is the single most important bull trout spawning system in the Kootenay Region. Sockeye (kokanee) salmon are also present after being introduced in the early 1970s. The Wigwam River and Lodgepole Creek are open to catch-and-release fly fishing.
Ancient Cottonwood Interpretive Trail
Near the town of Fernie, this easy walking trail is open to the public and provides spectacular views of some of the oldest black cottonwood trees in the world, some of which are over 400 years old. Find out more>