Wayne McCrory in 2005 with his granddaughters on a grizzly viewing trail developed by the Valhalla Wilderness Society in the Selkirk Mountains. Photo: Submitted

Wayne McCrory in 2005 with his granddaughters on a grizzly viewing trail developed by the Valhalla Wilderness Society in the Selkirk Mountains. Photo: Submitted

West Kootenay conservationist wins Land Champion Award

Biologist Wayne McCrory has been recognized by the Real Estate Foundation of B.C.

Professional biologist, conservationist and environmental advocate Wayne McCrory has received the 2022 Land Champion Award from the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC).

“The Land Champion Award recognizes an individual for making exemplary contributions, over time, to protecting land and water and strengthening communities,” the award citation on the REFBC website states. “Legendary conservationist and professional biologist Wayne McCrory has dedicated his life to protecting large and small tracts of ecologically important land across B.C.”

The New Denver native, who turns 80 this year, is one of the founders of the Valhalla Wilderness Society and a leading expert on bear conservation and human-bear conflict.

He was a driving force in the creation of the Khutzeymateen/K’tzim-a-deen Grizzly Sanctuary, Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy, and Goat Range Provincial Park.

His research led to the creation, by the Xeni Gwet’in, of the first wild horse preserve in western Canada. He was also instrumental in the protection of the Snk’mip Marsh Sanctuary and Jaŝ Chinook Salmon Nature Sanctuary. For 30 years, he worked with many others to end B.C.’s grizzly bear trophy hunt.

“McCrory’s leadership has created a rich legacy for B.C. and the world,” says the REFBC, “and has inspired countless people to stand up for bears, wild lands, and endangered species.”

McCrory responded to the award in a news release from the Valhalla Wilderness Society by urging the provincial government to protect 50 per cent of the province’s land base including old growth forests.

“There’s now a huge body of science that says we need to protect 50 per cent of ecosystems,” he said, adding that the Valhalla Wilderness Society has created three detailed provincial park proposals for the inland temperate rainforest areas of the province.

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