Aran O'Carroll on the then-boundary of Nahanni National Park

The verge of Deadman's Valley, 1990

by Aran O'Carroll

Nahanni haunted my imagination as a teenager newly returned to Canada from school in Ireland. I found myself immersed in the lore and adventure of Canada's wilderness and the Nahanni River, in particular. I was fortunate enough as a student at Queen's University to finally have the opportunity to paddle the Nahanni in 1990 and I was astounded at the time by its stunning beauty and the drama of its landscape. Amongst other things, one day on my trip in 1990 I hiked with colleagues to the verge of Deadman's Valley, to the Tlogotsho Plateau, where this picture was taken, and I remember distinctly that the Park boundary at the time was but an afternoon's hike from the river. Years later after working as a river guide and teaching white water paddling, it was CPAWS Nahanni campaign that drew me to the organization in 2006.

One of my proudest moments at CPAWS, indeed one of my proudest moments as a Canadian, was to be a very small part of the incredible and tenacious pan-Canadian CPAWS team that in 2009, in collaboration with the Deh Cho First Nation of the Northwest Territories and the federal and territorial governments, secured the protection of virtually the entire South Nahanni watershed – an area of Boreal wilderness larger than Vancouver Island. I have changed the caption on this photo from "sitting on the Park boundary" to "sitting deep inside the newly-expanded Nahanni National Park"!