Stein Val­ley, Bri­tish Columbia

Canadian Geographic - - UNESCO -

SIG­NIF­I­CANCE The val­ley is where mem­bers of the Nlaka’pa­mux Na­tion go to teach tra­di­tions and gain spir­i­tual knowl­edge and is a source of sus­te­nance. It’s con­sid­ered an “eco­log­i­cal whole” be­cause the area goes from dry in­te­rior to wet­ter moun­tains and fea­tures di­verse eco­log­i­cal zones in­clud­ing cedar groves, alpine tun­dra, glaciers and open pine forests. The im­por­tance of the val­ley has been con­veyed in more than 100 doc­u­mented oral nar­ra­tives and Creation sto­ries. SIZE The pro­tected area en­com­passes 107,191 hectares. LO­CA­TION South­west­ern Bri­tish Columbia, span­ning the en­tire Stein River wa­ter­shed

CUR­RENT OF­FI­CIAL PRO­TEC­TION The Stein Val­ley Nlaka’pa­mux Her­itage Park was es­tab­lished in 1995 and is co-man­aged by the Lyt­ton First Na­tion and BC Parks. RAR­ITY FAC­TOR Well-pre­served pic­tographs can be found along cliffs and boul­ders on the an­cient trail. They re­veal sa­cred places where spir­i­tual pow­ers are gained through vi­sions and rit­u­als, in­clud­ing prophe­cies and pu­berty rit­u­als. THE LO­CAL’S TAKE Wendy Wick­wire and Michael M’go­nigle, co-founders in 1985 of the orig­i­nal cam­paign group, the Stein Wilder­ness Al­liance, know the area well. “The Stein River Val­ley is unique as an in­tact wa­ter­shed in Bri­tish Columbia’s lower main­land — a mere three-hour j our­ney from Van­cou­ver,” Wick­wire says. “It’s bounded on all sides by moun­tain­ous ridges and its for­est, streams and main river all orig­i­nate and ex­ist within an un­de­vel­oped en­vi­ron­ment.” This un­de­vel­oped as­pect al­lows for a di­verse for­est sys­tem, ex­plains M’go­nigle. “The Stein Val­ley is rich in wildlife from griz­zly bears to di­verse fish­eries and a stun­ningly beau­ti­ful wild river. Walk­ing be­side it is a spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence in to­day’s world of frac­tured land­scapes.”

Stein Val­ley

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