Wednesday, May 19, 2010

UNESCO helps save Waterton Glacier from Mining

Source: "UNESCO sites to be saved and savored," The Boston Globe, Kari Bodnarchuk, May 16, 2010.

"A pristine section of land stretching from northern Montana into British Columbia, Canada, contains stunning mountain ranges, prairies, tundra, and lakes. It has endangered trout, the highest concentration of grizzly bears in the United States, and water quality that ranks among the best in the world. Gold exploration, coal-bed methane drilling, or construction of a coal mine might have irreversibly damaged this fragile environment.

"This land, known as the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, is on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List, a designation currently held by 890 natural and cultural sites worldwide because of their “outstanding universal value.’’ In February, British Columbia and Montana signed an agreement stating that no mining will be allowed in the region.

“'All of the values that make this park of international significance would have been threatened,' says Stephen Morris, chief of the Office of International Affairs at the US National Park Service. 'The World Heritage designation of Waterton Glacier definitely played a role in helping to protect the park from this mining development.’"

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