Canadians donate $1 million to Kokanee Glacier campaign 

British Columbians donated the most money by far to the national Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign, which raised almost $1-million in just over a year.

Canadians from all over the country sent money to the campaign that will restore the historic Slocan Chief Cabin in the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park as a backcountry interpretive centre, and build a new alpine hut for backcountry enthusiasts.

The campaign funds will also be used to raise national awareness about backcountry safety.

"The Kokanee Glacier area us magical to us, and we are particularly pleased that the fund will not only be used to restore the Kokanee Glacier area but will also help educate all those who use the backcountry," said Justin Trudeau, eldest son of the late, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Trudeau's younger brother Michel died in an avalanche three and a half years ago when he was skiing a steep traverse with some friends on a slope above Kokanee Lake.

The tragic event galvanized the Trudeau family to spearhead the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign, along with B.C. Parks and the Friends of West Kootenay Parks.

Money poured in from across the country. Almost $600,000 came from B.C., followed by Ontario ($165,200), Quebec ($120,000) and the Prairies ($95,000).

The campaign also donated a much-needed $40,000 to the Canadian Avalanche Association last winter to keep the public avalanche bulletin service going. Without this donation, the CAA may have been shut down, said Clair Israelson, managing director of the association.

"On behalf of the CAA, and the 400,000 public bulletin users who treasure and respect wild places, I extend heartfelt thanks to the organizers for demonstrating a commitment to the safety of all Canadians whose lives are enriched through mountain adventure," she said.

The campaign was carried out in memory of Michel Trudeau and the many other Canadians who have lost their lives enjoying Canada's backcountry.

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