Muskwa-Kechika (Northern Rockies)

The Muskwa-Kechika is B.C.’s largest “managed” landscape – it’s a huge area of the northern Rockies stretching 6.4 million hectares. As a managed wilderness, all industry in the M-K must meet a higher standard of environmental sensitivity than in the rest of British Columbia. The M-K contains a constellation of parks and protected areas but the goal is to protect the environmental health of entire region.

The vision to focus on this area began as a result of a 1992 meeting between environmentalist George Smith (CPAWS) and Wayne Sawchuk (Chetwynd Environmental Society), both of whom had begun working independently to protect B.C.'s Northern Rockies. That meeting led to the formation of an alliance that brought together groups from all over the northern region, and resulted in successful conclusions at the Land Use Planning tables for Fort Nelson, and Fort St. John in 1997 and at the Mackenzie table in 2000. The M-KMA was born through legislation in 1998. It is one of the only places in the province where First Nations, industry, and environmentalists work collaboratively together to manage a landscape for its long-term health.

Climate Change in the M-K

With climate changing significantly, British Columbia needs parks and wilderness areas that are large enough to protect biodiversity. Why? Nature needs the functioning natural systems in large parks to shelter adaptable species and cautiously welcome newcomer species. Left alone, nature can maintain “variety” or biodiversity. The M-K is one of the few protected and managed stretches of B.C. wilderness large enough to remain resilient to climate change.

CPAWS works with Y2Y Inc and northern First Nations to ensure that this incredible M-K wilderness stays intact. Our scientists and technicians pour over every inch of the M-K, looking at the features that will endure climate change – soils, elevations, waterfalls – along with areas that will provide connectivity and special features, such as escape terrain for mountain goats and grasslands for bird migration.

The Future and the M-K

As a key part of British Columbia's wild heritage, it is important that the Muskwa-Kechika remain as wild and ecologically healthy as possible. CPAWS continues to monitor what goes on in the Muskwa-Kechika to ensure its extraordinary wilderness and wildlife values are safeguarded into the future.


Muskwa-Kechika – Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Assessment (July 18, 2012)

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