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Jury’s still out on B.C.’s controversial Jumbo Pass ski area

PUBLIC LANDS — The controversial Jumbo Glacier resort in the Purcell Mountains near Invermere, British Columbia, is in a holding pattern after its environmental certificate expired on the weekend, but resort officials say they’re still on track to open the day lodge and a lift by next winter, the Calgary Herald reports.

The $1-billion ski resort’s environmental certificate — which has been in place for 10 years — expired last week.

No additional construction will take place at the site until First Nations and other stakeholders are consulted and until B.C. Minister of Environment Mary Polack rules on whether the resort has “substantially started” the project.

Resort plans call for  construction of 5,500 condos and up to 23 ski lifts.

The upscale resort has divided the community between those who want a boon to local business and others who fear destruction of the pristine wilderness and grizzly bear habitat.

Canadian backcountry ski lodge opening for hikers

HIKING — A backcountry ski lodge famous for launching skiers into acres of powder from a lofty, cozy base in the Canadian Selkirk Mountains is offering  package deals for summer backcountry hiking.

Mount Carlyle Lodge has three-day packages for hikers who want to trek at eye level with the sky-scraping peaks of the Kokanee Range north of Kokanee Glacier National Park.  Carry only a daypak and return each night to the comfort of the lodge.

I checked out this area for this 2005 story. The scenery was stunning, the mining history fascinating and the hospitality was at a very high level…. around 7,200 feet!

You should check out this offering: 

The SourDough Trail, a spectacular Kootenay Classic. 3 days / 2 nights of casual hiking along a high elevation, grassy ridgeline, overflowing with wildflowers. Camp beside alpine lakes while being surrounded by 5 different mtn ranges. A photographers dream.

BC approves controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort in Purcell Mountains

PUBLIC LANDS — British Columbia Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Steve Thomson has announced his approval of controversial private-company plans to build the $900-million Jumbo Glacier Resort in the Purcell Mountains near Invermere.

The area is considered a pristine conservancy important to grizzly bears and backcountry recreation.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, opponents say they have not given up the fight to block the building of the luxury all-season resort that will have two hotels and 1,360 residential units with 6,250 beds.

Here's the Calgary Herald report:

B.C. approves controversial Jumbo Glacier ski resort:
$1B proposal has divided Kootenay region residents for decades

Here's the CBC News report on the decision.

See my story and photos about hiking in the area, which is featured in my guidebook, 100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest.


  

Enviros oppose Jumbo Ski Resort as decision nears

PUBLIC LANDS — After 20 years of debate, the British Columbia government apparently is nearing a decision on whether to authorize development of a large four-season resort on and around glaciers near Jumbo Pass in the Purcell Mountains above Invermere.

If you've hiked the trails to Monica Meadows and Jumbo Pass described in my book, 100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest, you know the neighborhood.

Environmental and recreation groups have opposed this resort from the beginning, arguing it would be detrimental to grizzly bears in some of the best grizzly habitat in the region. They also say existing resorts, such as nearby Panorama Resort, already are short of customers without adding more competition.

The Jumbo Glacier Resort appears to be more of a real estate development scheme than a viable ski resort plan, as pointed out in this video.

Recreationists also point out the development would degrade what's been a premier backcountry experience and close some access to public (crown) lands.

Click here to see how the developers promote the Jumbo Glacier Resort project.

Click here for insight on the potential impacts to wildlife.

Click here for the overall environmental argument against the resort.

Click here for the perspective of the local First Nation, the Ktunaxa.

Click here for information on booking the rustic Jumbo Pass hiker-skier cabin.

Click here for a YouTube video documenting a week of backcountry skiing out of the Jumbo Pass cabin.