Protecting the Nahanni

by Harvey Locke

For over a decade, I have worked with CPAWS as a spokesman and negotiator to gain protection for the wonderful South Nahanni watershed. Working with the Dehcho First Nations and Parks Canada, CPAWS led the campaign to expand Nahanni National Park Reserve. We had tremendous leadership from Environment Minister John Baird and his successor Jim Prentice.  We were able to help obtain all party consent for the Bill to pass through the House of Commons and Senate unanimously and in record time.

It created one of the world's largest national parks. Later that year we were able to profile the expansion at WILD 9, the World Wilderness Congress in Merida, Mexico where Mexico's President Calderon issued a stamp commemorating the Nahanni and Environment Minister Jim Prentice gave a speech celebrating the achievement with the world. In 2009 we celebrated the massive expansion of Nahanni National Parks Reserve, and in 2011, the creation of Naats’ihch’oh National Parks Reserve in the Nahanni Headwaters. For all this we still have more work to do before the job is fully done.