We stand with Tribes and First Nations in Washington and British Columbia in saying no to mining and clearcutting in the Skagit Headwaters.
Read more in this Op-Ed by Indigenous leaders, then take action to call on the B.C. government to block industrial mining proposals just over the border.
We recently joined more than a dozen First Nations, Native American tribes and conservation and recreation groups in placing a full-page ad in the Vancouver Sun calling on British Columbia to deny a permit for mining in the headwaters of the Skagit River.
This follows organizational comments we submitted in April, and more than 500 Washingtonians taking action and contacting elected leaders through our May alert. Our senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and seven Members of Congress responded by calling on B.C. Premier John Horgan to deny the mining permit, but now we need your help to ensure that happens.
Use our simple form to send a message to Premier Horgan and his staff. Or take action through our new Healthy Watersheds Campaign!
News on Skagit Headwaters
- April 2020: Fight to protect Washington waters from Canadian mines continues after Skagit Headwaters bill stalls in legislature
- December 2019: Statement on announcement that BC will no longer log Skagit Headwaters
- June 2019: Why an international coalition is going all out to stop mining in B.C.’s Skagit headwaters, The Narwhal
- June 2019: Environmental groups fight to prevent mine exploration on edge of Manning Park, Vancouver Sun
- May 2019: Mining proposal for Skagit River headwaters in B.C. sparks outcry from congressional Dems, Gov. Inslee, The Seattle Times
- May 2019: Yes to fish runs; no to gold mine in Skagit River, LTE in The Seattle Times
- May 2019: Tribes and First Nations say no to gold mining in Skagit River headwaters, Op-Ed in The Seattle Times
- May 2019: More than 50 Conservation Organizations and Elected Officials Oppose Mining in Skagit Headwaters
- April 2019: Comments on mining proposal in Skagit Headwaters
- April 2019: Imperial Metals’ plan to drill in Skagit headwaters spawns cross-border backlash, The Narwhal
- March 2019: Canadian company applies for permit for exploratory mining in headwaters of Skagit River, The Seattle Times
- January 2019: Letter on proposed logging in “doughnut hole” of Upper Skagit Watershed
- September 2019: Letter to Governor Inslee on Skagit Watershed Protection
- August 2018: Logging in Upper Skagit River watershed put on hold as Seattle has ‘grave concern’, The Seattle Times
An unacceptable risk
The company proposing to mine in an unprotected area of the Skagit Headwaters, Imperial Metals, was responsible for the infamous Mount Polley mine disaster of 2014, which spilled more than 2.6 billion gallons of toxic sludge into the Fraser River watershed, one of the biggest environmental disasters in Canadian history.
The risk of such a disaster in the Skagit, home to Puget Sound’s healthiest remaining runs of wild salmon and steelhead—vital food for southern resident orca whales as well as cherished resources for Native American nations and other local communities—is simply unacceptable.
The priceless ecological and cultural values of the Skagit Watershed have been recognized for decades, notably through the High Ross Treaty of 1984, in which the City of Seattle and British Columbia reached an agreement to avoid flooding more than 5,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat and recreation lands. The Treaty also created the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (SEEC), the bi-lateral body intended to conserve and protect wilderness and wildlife habitat, enhance recreation opportunities, and acquire mineral or timber rights consistent with those values.
The approval of Imperial Metals’ permit application would violate the spirit and intent of the High Ross Treaty, the creation of the SEEC, and the stated opposition of indigenous nations and conservationists on both sides of the international border.
Join us in speaking up for the Skagit Headwaters!
The so-called “Donut Hole” of unprotected lands between British Columbia’s Skagit Valley and E.C. Manning provincial parks is also recognized as important habitat for North Cascades grizzly bears, spotted owls, bull trout and many other species of concern.
In addition to wildlife values, the mountains, forests, lakes and streams of the Skagit Headwaters provide clean drinking water and recreational opportunities for a growing number of Canadians and Americans who seek peace and refuge from the noise and bustle of our ever-growing Cascadia region.
Demand for such nearby natural areas will continue to grow, not shrink. To not recognize and plan for such demand is short-sighted and counter to the interests of this and future generations. The Skagit Headwaters are a regional showcase for international conservation cooperation, supporting the quality of life that in turn underpins our regional economic, ecological and cultural vibrancy.