For Immediate Release
Nature Canada Applauds Federal Government’s Renewed Commitment to National Park System
New National Park in Northwest Territories an Important Step Toward Completing Canada’s National Park System, Nature Canada President Says
OTTAWA (Oct 17, 2006) - Nature Canada praised the federal government today for Friday’s agreement between the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation and Parks Canada to move towards establishing Thaydene Nene as a National Park of Canada.
“We are very pleased to see the federal government has renewed its commitment to complete the national park system,” said Julie Gelfand, President of the Ottawa-based conservation organization Nature Canada. “A new National Park in the Northwest Territories would be a wonderful signal that this government understands its responsibilities in helping to conserve Canada’s wilderness legacy.”
In an historic signing ceremony in the Dene community of Lutsel K'e by federal Minister of Environment Rona Ambrose and Chief Adeline Jonasson, the two sides agreed to begin assessing the feasibility of a new National Park in Dene traditional territory and how the Dene will participate in the park’s operations and management. The new park is anticipated to be approximately 33,000 km2.
Minister Ambrose also announced her government’s pledge to advance the park establishment process for B.C.’s South Okanagan-Similkeen, Manitoba Lowlands Interlake region and Nunavut’s Northern Bathurst Island. The federal government also announced an agreement with Quebec to work to establish parks in four natural regions in that province, and committed to the expansion of Nahanni National Park.
“There appears to be a real commitment on the part of government to fulfill this country’s dream of establishing a National Park in each of Canada’s 39 natural regions,” said Gelfand. “As long as the commitment is there, it is absolutely possible to preserve our nation’s unique ecosystems – and the plants and animals that live within them – so that they are not lost forever.”
The proposed new National Park would be located on the east arm of Great Slave Lake, otherwise known to the Dene people as “Thaydene Nene” or “land of our ancestors.” It will protect vast herds of caribou, sacred to northern people, as well as fur-bearing creatures such as lynx, wolf, red fox, wolverine, martin, moose and black bear. Lake trout, whitefish and huge northern pike thrive in the cold, nutrient-poor lakes and rivers.
Nature Canada will be pushing for the inclusion of ecological goods and services as part of the resource assessment that will take place on Thaydene Nene.
“With the continued push toward industrial development of the north, maintaining the ecological integrity of life-sustaining ecosystems such as the boreal will be the litmus test for the Conservative government’s ‘conservation priority’,” said Gelfand. “Friday’s announcements are a positive step in the right direction.”
Nature Canada is a national charity that has long been committed to completing Canada’s national parks system. Its mission is to protect nature, its diversity, and the processes that sustain it. With strategies based on sound science and passion for nature, Nature Canada effects change on issues of national significance, including bird conservation, wilderness protection, species at risk and national parks.
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