Precedent-setting legal case in Wood Buffalo National Park

by Harvey Locke

In the early 1990s clearcut logging was occurring in Wood Buffalo National Park under an old lease. This threatened the integrity of national parks across the country, Back then there was a very serious question about whether the courts would allow an environmental group focused on parks to sue and the only precedent was negative. I was president of CPAWS’ Board of Trustees at the time. We agonized over the issue and then decided to sue with the newly established Sierra Legal Defence Fund as our lawyers. Together we won their first big case. Logging was declared an illegal and invalid activity in the park and shortly thereafter Environment Minister Jean Charest wrote a letter to me in my capacity as President of CPAWS confirming there would “never again be logging in our national parks."