The launch of the Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre’s vision document occurred just this February 15, 2006 and already a substantial donation has been made by one of Fernie’s most well-known and respected businesses. Island Lake Lodge announced early March that it has donated $200,000 in support of this not for profit organization.
The vision document expresses the Grizzly Centre’s intention to develop a centre in affiliation with academic institutions that will be at the forefront of scientific research. With its strategic location in Fernie, the Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre has access to a wilderness that supports a significant grizzly population. Collecting, assimilating and disseminating scientific data will support the research, education and interpretation necessary to assist in the continual safety and cohabitation of the grizzly bear, humans and environment of the southern Rockies.
Island Lake Lodge is situated in a picturesque remote location, just kilometers from the town of Fernie. Secluded in the peaks of the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains, it sits on 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness. A wide variety of wildlife, humans and the environment co-exist in this setting and Island Lake Lodge strives to keep its employees and visitors educated to foster longevity of all three. Donating to the Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre was a natural move for this group as it falls in line with Island Lake Lodge’s vision. Operating in harmony with the environment is central to its success and sustainability.
Using water to generate power, being “light on the land,” glading to benefit the forest and limited use of motorized vehicles have been integral to operations and John Birrell of Island Lake Lodge states that donating to the grizzly centre was an important next step. John feels that they are synonymous with the Grizzly Centre, and that there is a possibility that the Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre will conduct field studies at Island Lake Lodge. For the past three years, bears on this property have been under study by PHD Clayton Apps, using DNA sampling and GPS tracking to foster analysis. The Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre will only help to further advance this type of analysis and education in the Elk Valley and surrounding areas, an important direction to take as recreational activity has been increasing.
With plans for the centre to operate in downtown Fernie, many residents and tourists are excited about the growth this project will lend the valley.