August 8, 2007 (Ottawa) Nature Canada today congratulated the federal government on its announcement that it will withdraw additional land from industrial development in order to expand Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories.
Prime Minister Harper, federal Environment Minister John Baird, and Dehcho Chief Herb Norwegian made the announcement today in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories.
“The Nahanni is a national icon that has remained unspoiled for generations, and Canadians want to keep it that way,” said Julie Gelfand, Nature Canada president. “The expansion of Nahanni National Park will give renewed hope for the future of the woodland caribou and other wildlife that depend on the Nahanni River and the Boreal Forest through which it runs.”
The Nahanni watershed covers 35,000 square kilometers of nearly untouched wilderness in Canada's Northwest Territories. In 1972, a 4,766 sq km corridor along the South Nahanni and Flat Rivers was protected as a national park reserve. Located within Canada’s Boreal Forest, and home to wildlife such as woodland caribou, grizzly bears, and peregrine falcons, Nahanni National Park was one of the first ever World Heritage Sites declared by the United Nations.
“Today’s announcement, along with earlier commitments made by the federal government to preserve our northern wilderness, are welcome signs that protection of our natural spaces is a priority,” said Gelfand. “It has given me hope that our endangered species may yet retain the habitat they need to survive, and that Canada may still be able to call itself a ‘nature nation’.”
Nature Canada is among several conservation groups who have called for action to advance a Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy before any large-scale development, such as the Mackenzie Gas Project, proceeds.
In addition to Nahanni, progress has been made in other important areas of conservation, including Sayhoue/Edacho (Grizzly Bear Mountain/Scented Grass Hills in Great Bear Lake), which Parks Canada has agreed to fund as a National Historic Site, and Edéhzhíe (Horn Plateau), where the federal government has extended interim protection to October 31, 2008.
Nature Canada is calling for further progress on other areas named in the NWT Protected Areas Strategy, including Ts'ude'hliline Tuyetah (Ramparts) near Fort Good Hope and Thaydene Nene, on the east arm of Great Slave Lake.
Nature Canada is also a signatory to the Boreal Conservation Framework. Supporters of the Framework, including conservation groups, First Nations, and leading Canadian companies are calling for at least 50% of the region to be preserved in a network of large interconnected protected areas.
At 1.3 billion acres, Canada’s Boreal Forest is one of the largest intact forest and wetland ecosystems remaining on earth. It is a major source of North America’s fresh water and home to some of the planet’s largest populations of wolves, grizzly bears, and woodland caribou.
“We commend Prime Minister Harper and Environment Minister John Baird on their commitment to our national park system,” said Nature Canada President Julie Gelfand, “and we congratulate all the people who have worked so hard to see the entire Nahanni watershed permanently protected.”
For more information please contact:
Director of Conservation
(613) 562-3447 ext. 238
Share on Facebook