New Canadian Park Twice Nova Scotia’s Size

November 21, 2007 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Canadian Environment Minister John Baird Announcing New Park CreationCanadian Environment Minister John Baird announced at a news conference held today in Ottawa that the Conservative government is creating a 10-million hectare wildlife sanctuary and national park in the Northwest Territories. The protected area — about twice the size of Nova Scotia — will be among the biggest conservation projects in Canadian history. Baird called it “truly, a gigantic conservation initiative, not just in Canadian history but, indeed, around the world.”

The park will include 3.4 million hectares of land surrounding the eastern arm of Great Slave Lake. Another six million hectares in an area which stretches from an existing wildlife preserve to the boundaries of the park will be managed by First Nation groups as conservation land. An additional national wildlife area of 1.5 million hectares will be established along the Arctic Circle.

Fred Sangris, Chief of the Yellowknife Dene Nation“This sacred place has many archeological, burial and historic sites…It’s also been used by many, many generations for trapping, hunting and fishing,” Baird said. Fred Sangris, Chief of the Yellowknife Dene Nation, said that native leaders have been fighting since 1900 for permanent protection of the land. “It took three generations of people but we managed to get there,” he remarked. One of the largest caribou herds in the world lives in the newly protected area, and there are many unique plants and other species as well. Chief Frank T’seleie of the K’asho Cot’ine Charter Community Council said: “There’s fish in some of those small lakes that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.”

According to CTV, Baird said Canada is “withdrawing massive areas from industrial development to protect some of the most impressive ecological and cultural wonders in the north for generations to come.” The park and wildlife sanctuary will protect boreal forest which is under increasing pressure from uranium and diamond mining; limit hunting in the area; and ban the sale or leasing of designated property. This is the fourth large nature preserve which Canada has established in the North to prevent industrial development and natural resource depletion of the area. No time line for park establishment was given.

Read more First Nation news.

Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

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