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Public Opinion Strongly in Favour of Thaidene Nene

CPAWS has been working with the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) since early 2011 to help build awareness and support for protecting Thaidene Nene, the Land of the Ancestors.

Thaidene Nene is a spectacular northern landscape with numerous ecological and cultural values; a globally-significant carbon sink that once protected, will foster ecological integrity, cultural continuity, and economic sustainability in the core of the LKDFN homeland. Stretching from the shores of the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, and up through the boreal forest and into the tundra, Thaidene Nene is a well-loved and relatively well-visited part of the region.

In December 2013, CPAWS and the LKDFN commissioned public opinion research about Thaidene Nene. We wanted to gauge the level of support for Thaidene Nene in Yellowknife and Hay River, the two primary communities where recreational users of the area reside. In fact, through our public opinion research, we learned that 4 in 10 residents of Yellowknife and Hay River have visited LKDFN traditional territory.

We felt confident that support was relatively high for establishing Thaidene Nene, but it was reassuring to see the numbers from the research, which polled 200 residents of Yellowknife and Hay River. Nearly half of those surveyed, and two-thirds of previous visitors to the area, were aware of plans to establish Thaidene Nene – and a large majority (80%) support the creation of Thaidene Nene. Most respondents said that they were supportive because Thaidene Nene will protect the environment and the beauty of the area. Other reasons given included protection of culture and traditional ways of life, as well as strengthening the economy.

The research also asked if people had concerns about establishing Thaidene Nene.  Responses showed that about one third were somewhat concerned and one third were very concerned about how they would be able to use the area once a park was established, how it would be managed and the related economic benefits. Many of these wanted more information, which is why we’re continuing our outreach efforts in the NWT about this outstanding opportunity to create Thaidene Nene as a completely unique protected area.

You can read more about Thaidene Nene, and join in the conversations on Facebook and Twitter.

Show your support for establishing Thaidene Nene by signing the petition, and please consider taking a few minutes to write a letter to government decision-makers expressing your support for the initiative.

-- Erica Janes, Conservation Outreach Coordinator, CPAWS-NWT