In devastating news for anyone concerned about the rights of indigenous people and protection of major wild areas, the Jumbo Glacier Resort has been given the green light by the Canadian supreme court.

The Jumbo Valley, located deep in the wilds of British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains, has long been revered for its spiritual significance and beauty. To the Ktunaxa Nation, it is known as Qat’muk, home of the grizzly bear spirit.

For decades, First Nations, conservationists, backcountry skiers and snowboarders have fought a proposed large-scale ski resort deep in the Jumbo valley. After 24 years of opposition, the campaign against the resort has been dealt a major blow with this court ruling.

As reported in The Guardian,

‘Canada’s highest court has given developers the green light to build a 6,250-bed ski resort on land considered sacred by an indigenous community in British Columbia, in a landmark court case that pitted religious rights against the controversial project.

The case centred around a proposal for a year-round ski resort on the site of an abandoned sawmill in south-eastern British Columbia. Plans for the Jumbo Glacier Resort include as many as 23 ski lifts, a gondola to ferry visitors into the soaring mountain peaks as well as accommodation for thousands of overnight guests.

The project met with stiff resistance from the Ktunaxa Nation, whose traditional connection to the land stretches back millennia. For hundreds of generations they have revered the area, which they call Qat’muk, as home of the Grizzly Bear Spirit.

The supreme court ruled that the project could proceed on the grounds of public interest. The majority of the judges found that the community’s freedom of religion had not been breached and noted that it is not the state’s duty to protect the Grizzly Bear Spirit’.

Stay tuned for details on the next stage in the campaign.