What is wilderness to you? What does the word ‘sacred’ symbolize? How would you treat something that you consider to be both?
Jumbo Valley in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia is a wide expanse of stunning mountain landscape that unfolds about two hours away by car from civilization. Qat’muk, as it is called by the native people, is the home of the grizzly bear spirit, the place where life originates, and a highly sacred wilderness area meant solely for the peaceful coexistence of nature and humanity.
Coexistence signifies a relationship without harm to any entity involved and the indigenous people have done so for four hundred generations. More recent arrivals have similarly learned how to adapt for mutual cohabitation: hunters and trappers take only what is needed for sustenance, backcountry enthusiasts leave nothing but their tracks in the thick Canadian snow, and conservationists and researchers use only equipment constructed to do no harm as they gather more and more data in support of the protection of the land.
For 24 years, an architect named Oberto Oberti has been lobbying for the approval of a massive, one-of-a-kind ski resort deep in the Jumbo Valley, complete with 22 lifts and gondolas, countless condos and lodges, and over two thousand hotel rooms. Both sides have been tirelessly fighting each other, one saying that big business will bring big jobs and the other contesting that the wilderness is sacred no matter the potential profit.
Colorado College alumni Nick Waggoner and Ben Sturgulewski who started Sweetgrass Productions have paired with Patagonia to create Jumbo Wild, a cinematographically stunning film about the debate over the Jumbo wilderness. FUCC showed the movie in Armstrong Hall on Oct. 27, and from beginning to end, sighs of protest and disgust could be heard in the auditorium as the plans for the resort were laid out on the big screen.
Head to patagonia.com/jumbowild to read and learn more about Jumbo Wild as well as to watch a condensed eight-minute version of the film. If the protests and cries for help from those opposed to the resort stir you enough, click on the purple link called ‘Keep Jumbo Wild.’ There, you can sign a petition against the development of the resort that would sever a core population of grizzly bear and destroy one of the already dwindling sacred lands of the First Nations people in the Purcell Mountains. 8,526 supporters have signed the petition thus far, and only 10,000 are needed to delay the resort longer.