Skiing on the face of it is not the worst sport in terms of environmental impact. Sure, creating the gear and apparel needed to ski is not without its negatives, but beyond driving to a hill or mountain, skiing can be pretty benign. Hiking up and skiing down impacts snow and perhaps a bit of the flora and fauna beneath, but it’s pretty much surface impact.
That no longer holds true when you introduce a development to the picture: cutting trails for runs, building roads for access, and buildings for various uses. Mega-resorts are extremely impactful on the environment, especially when sited in otherwise untrammeled natural environments.
Patagonia’s latest environmental campaign and film project, Jumbo Wild, is a documentary film by Sweetgrass Productions. Going back decades now, this is the classic story of the battle between nature, personal experience, and development of virgin territory.
To the Ktunaxa Nation, who have lived in the area for countless generations, the Jumbo Valley is known as Qat’muk, home of the grizzly bear spirit. An important grizzly bear migration corridor, it connects two of the few remaining habitats supporting grizzlies in North America, making it vital that development not occur. As a member of the Ktunaxa Nation (who are adamantly against the project) states in the movie: “Our no should be heard.”
The eight-minute Jumbo Wild featurette, gives a glimpse of the fight to protect the Jumbo Valley. The full, feature-length documentary-style film, which offers an hour-long view of the story, will be on tour throughout North America from October 6 through November 2, 2015. It will be available for purchase on Vimeo and iTunes starting December 11, with all proceeds benefitting Wildsight (advocates for permanent protection for the Jumbo Valley).
As someone who lives in an overly developed area of our country, I think it’s imperative that we support the fight against continued development in undisturbed areas. We can limit the development to areas that are already despoiled and work on returning even those to a more natural and healthy state.
Local residents should be heard on whether projects like this should move forward. I my opinion, developments like these often benefit very few, usually the developer and sometimes (temporarily), local governments, who appreciate the jobs and taxes the projects bring.
Even more important, we owe it to the animals, such as the grizzly, to give them a fighting chance at survival – keeping these corridors open is vital for their continued existence.
More information is available through Patagonia.
[Also check out the book review Trespassing Across America.]
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