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Jun 22 07

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Cyclists crossing Canada for CPAWS

Grant at Surrey Lake, BC

They\'re not yet halfway across Canada but they\'re more than halfway towards reaching their donation goal  of $8,000 for CPAWS, and we\'re cheering them all the way! Val Bennett, Grant MacDonald, and Ed Coles left Vancouver on May 28, and have  been biking the Trans-Canada highway since then, reaching Regina, Saskatchewan on June 17th after crossing the Rocky Mountains and part of the Prairies - which they\'ve discovered aren\'t as flat as they previously thought.

The cyclists have also raced prarie dogs and seen "...a buffalo giving us the evil eye, a glimpse of what may or may not have been an antelope, and many different bird sightings, including magpies and a gorgeous prairie falcon" writes Val on the group\'s website, . 

The three 23 and 24 year old current and former students at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay have been planning their trip for almost a year.   Ed writes that he has always been interested in cross-country mountain bike racing but this year decided to ride across-the-country for CPAWS.  He admires the work that CPAWS does in creating greenspaces for outdoor enthusiasts, such as himself, to enjoy and hopes that others will help in attaining more.

Jun 21 07

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CPAWS updates priorities for federal action on wilderness conservation

CPAWS has updated its priorities for Federal Government action on wilderness protection to reflect growing concern over climate change, and will be sending the priorities to all political parties. 

Download our new primer, Wilderness Conservation in an Era of Climate Change: Canada’s Global Responsibility.

CPAWS Federal Action primer (PDF)

Jun 13 07

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The State of the Alberta Parks and Protected Areas


EDMONTON - A report released today at a news conference in Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park by CPAWS-Northern Alberta chapter finds that Alberta is failing to adequately support its provincial parks network.  The report, entitled, The State of the Alberta Parks and Protected Areas: an analysis of the challenges and opportunities for ecological integrity is being released just six days before the official 75th anniversary of Alberta Parks. 

The report found that despite some recent reinvestment initiatives, the Alberta Parks Division continues to struggle to meet its primary mandate of preserving Alberta\'s diverse natural regions.  Financial cutbacks, government re-organization and a lack of priority for the environment, have resulted in nearly 20 years of neglect for the Alberta parks network.  Reduced funding for the Alberta Parks Division has resulted in limited capacity for scientific monitoring, a backlog of management plans, a significant lack of enforcement officers, and the elimination of numerous heritage programs.

"Although Premier Stelmach has recently begun to re-investing the province\'s parks network, the problems our parks have been facing for decades is a lack of political support and leadership," says Rebecca Reeves, CPAWS ParksWatch Coordinator and author of the report.

The report finds that the failure of the government to effectively recognize and protect the province\'s ecological values has resulted in an incomplete network of small, isolated "islands" of parks and protected areas. In addition, Alberta is now ranked as having the weakest parks legislation in Canada.  This legislation has allowed for some industrial and motorized recreation within park boundaries and along nearly all park boundaries and allows the Alberta government to cancel protected areas without public notice.  All of these challenges are compromising the ecological health of the parks and protected areas.  

"A healthy, well funded and representative parks and protected areas network would ensure that our environment is protected within our increasingly busy landscape. By investing in and protecting our ecological riches now, Albertans can enjoy the many social, cultural and health benefits that parks can offer for generations to come," says Rebecca Reeves, CPAWS ParksWatch Program Coordinator and author of the report.

The report outlines recommendations to improve the parks system including, increasing funding, strengthening legislation and expanding the parks network to better represent the full range of diversity of Alberta\'s natural regions. "We are calling on the government to take the necessary steps to strengthen and enhance the parks network to make it one that genuinely celebrates and protects Alberta\'s rich natural heritage" says Reeves.

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For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Reeves, 780-913-9375 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

CPAWS is Canada\'s voice for wilderness protection. With 13 chapters across Canada and nearly 20,000 members, it has helped to conserve over 40 million hectares of Canada\'s most treasured wild places since 1963. It is a signatory to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, along with other leading conservation organizations, resource companies and First Nations.


Jun 08 07

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Canadians vote Nahanni as one of Canada’s Seven Wonders

OTTAWA - Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories was voted one of the top choices by Canadians in CBC\'s "Seven Wonders of Canada" contest which ended yesterday. Although Nahanni narrowly missed being on the final list of seven selected by the judging panel on June 7th, more than 64,000 Canadians voted for Nahanni as the top Canadian wonder in the weeks leading up to the contest close, ranking it fourth most popular.   

"The public rightly recognizes Nahanni, an iconic Boreal wilderness site, as the wonder that it truly is. But they should know that this natural treasure is threatened by mining developments. We hope the CBC vote provides an added incentive for the federal government to act soon to ensure the Nahanni stays as majestic as it is today, forever, by expanding the existing national park reserve to protect the entire South Nahanni watershed," says Alison Woodley, CPAWS\' Northern Conservation Specialist. 

CPAWS has been leading a public campaign since 2003 to protect the entire South Nahanni Watershed, one of the world\'s most spectacular Boreal wilderness treasures, in an expanded national park reserve.  While the government has committed to expanding the park, the decision about the where the new boundaries will go has not been made. 

Meanwhile, potentially threatening mining developments are proceeding. Last month, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board issued a land use permit to Canadian Zinc Corporation, the junior mining company that owns the proposed Prairie Creek mine north of the current park, to reconstruct a 170km winter road through the heart of the Nahanni wilderness area which authorities have identified for protection within the expanded national park reserve. 

The local Dehcho First Nations have passed a unanimous leadership resolution calling for protection of the entire South Nahanni Watershed, which lies within their traditional territory, including the Nahanni karstlands.   

Nine of the top ten CBC nominees were natural wonders and parks. "This sends a clear message that our natural heritage truly identifies us as Canadians. We trust governments are hearing this and ensuring that conservation of our wilderness is a high priority for them," adds Woodley. 


    - 30 - 

Jill Sturdy
Ph 613 569 7226 x232
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

For more information about CBC\'s "Seven Wonders of Canada" visit

Jun 06 07

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CPAWS wins silver at Canadian Environment Awards

National Executive Director Anne
Lévesque, Theresa Gulliver and
Juri Peepre of CPAWS Yukon,
CPAWS Board President Sherri
Watson, and Mike Dehn,
Executive director of CPAWS
Yukon, at the Gala.

Whitehorse -- CPAWS-Yukon won the Silver Community Award in the conservation category at the Canadian Environment Awards 2007 gala event at the Montreal Science Centre on June 4.  The Community Awards, the flagship program of the Canadian Environment Awards, celebrates individuals and grassroots groups chosen by a panel of environmental luminaries from nominations submitted by the Canadian public. The Silver Community Award winners are recognized with a $2,500 prize to donate to the environmental cause of their choice. 

This prominent annual award by Canadian Geographic Magazine and its partner, the Government of Canada, recognizes CPAWS-Yukon\'s imaginative and far-reaching conservation work on the Three Rivers project.  The Three Rivers Project included the Three Rivers Journey; a national group art exhibition, Three Rivers: wild waters, sacred places; the book Three Rivers: The Yukon\'s Great Boreal Wilderness; and ongoing local efforts to protect the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume Rivers within the Peel watershed. The Three Rivers project was one of only two projects north of the 60th parallel ever to be a finalist for the award (along with the Nunavik Research Centre in Kuujjuaq, Quebec). The award follows a successful 12 city cross-Canada tour, Journey to the Yukon\'s Three Rivers, which concluded in Whitehorse, May 17.  

“CPAWS congratulates the Yukon Chapter for their remarkable effort to expose this incredible conservation opportunity to Canadians.  We are proud to be able to showcase nationally the great work CPAWS does at the community level to protect wilderness.” said Sherri Watson, CPAWS National President.

“We are delighted and honoured to be one of only two north of 60 recipients of a Canadian Environment Award. Winning the Silver award is a testament to vital Yukon conservation work, especially in this era of rapid global change, marked by disappearing wildlife and wilderness.” said Juri Peepre, Three Rivers project coordinator.

“It\'s been a remarkable journey of discovery for everyone involved, and has shown us the creative force of combining art, literature, and imagery to tell Canadians an important conservation story. This recognition is one step along the way to a vision for the future where the Three Rivers are protected for all time,” said Theresa Gulliver, CPAWS conservation campaigner for the Peel region.

CPAWS will continue to encourage the Peel Land Use Planning Commission, First Nation and Yukon governments, to include conservation and large protected areas in the plan for the Peel watershed.  Public participation is critical now as land-use planning in the region is underway, and the Commission is in the formative stages of defining how land will be used in the region.  The recent Three Rivers national tour demonstrated broad Canadian and local Yukon support for conservation in the Peel watershed. 


Theresa Gulliver, CPAWS-Yukon;
514-948-4278 (until 10 am PST, June 5), 867-393-8080, ext 8 (June 6)

Juri Peepre, Three Rivers Project coordinator
970-819-7216 (cell) or 970-871-1594 (available after 11:00 am PST, June 5)

See also: Canadian Environment Awards 2007 Press Release  



Three Rivers Project Background

The Three Rivers Project was conceived to introduce Yukoners and Canadians to the treasures of the Peel watershed and the Three Rivers; to see and interpret the landscape in different ways and show how aboriginal and western cultures, wilderness, art and nature are connected. The project is a vital part of a Yukon and nationwide effort to conserve and protect the Three Rivers and the ecological integrity of the greater Peel watershed.

In 2003, 37 participants from the Yukon and across Canada completed simultaneous river trips down the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume Rivers of the Peel watershed. The Three Rivers Journey included people from the communities of Mayo and Ft. McPherson, visual artists, writers, musicians, journalists, photographers, conservationists and scientists. At the end of the Journeys, at the confluence of the Snake River and the Peel, the participants were met by a large contingent of Gwich\'in and Northern Tutchone people for an Elder\'s Gathering and traditional feast.

The participants on the Three Rivers Journey then wrote the stories, poems and original music; and, created the spectacular images that inspired a beautiful and informative book on protecting the mountains, forests and rivers of the Canadian North. A British Columbia Book Prize finalist, the Three Rivers: The Yukon\'s Great Boreal Wilderness is an anthology of photographs, art and written works with such notables as Margaret Atwood, John Ralston Saul and Brian Brett, along with Yukon writers such as Sarah Locke and Peter Lesniak. Yukon photographers included Fritz Mueller, Marten Berkman, Jannik Schou, Juri Peepre, Paul Nicklen, Peter Mather, and Cathy Archbould.

The Three Rivers project also included production of an award-winning short art film by Marten Berkman, Three Rivers: wild waters, sacred places documenting the experiences of 8 Canadian artists who participated in the Three Rivers Journey. Yukon artists Jane Isakson and Joyce Majiski participated in the Three Rivers Journey, and their work is part of the national group art exhibition.

The Journey to the Yukon\'s Three Rivers national tour was organized by CPAWS, in partnership with Mountain Equipment Co-op and Yukonwild, drawing large audiences across Canada. The Three Rivers project is part of CPAWS\' ambitious national effort to conserve Canada\'s boreal forest ecosystem.

Background on the Three Rivers Project at

Read more about the CPAWS national tour, Journey to the Yukon\'s Three Rivers

May 31 07

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CPAWS-Yukon Welcomes New Executive Director Mike Dehn
May 30, 2007 – Whitehorse – CPAWS-Yukon Board and staff are pleased to announce the appointment of Mike Dehn as our new Executive Director. Mike is a long-term resident of the Yukon who comes to us from the private sector, having been the owner and principal consultant of his own business in the Yukon for the past 13 years. Mike’s work has included conservation biology, economics, policy development, and communications, and he holds advanced degrees in both economics (MA) and biology (PhD). His previous background includes extensive experience as a professional economist as well as a stint of teaching in the Renewable Resources Program at Yukon College.

Mike has been involved with CPAWS-Yukon for several years, and has served as an active member of our Board for a year and a half. He has lived in both Whitehorse and smaller communities and has conducted extensive field work in the Yukon, NWT, and Alaska. We regard Mike’s strong personal and professional relationships throughout the community as a tremendous asset.

Mike has a proven track record for strategic thinking, creativity, and perseverance in his professional, business, and volunteer work. We believe that Mike is particularly qualified to understand the conflict and opportunities raised by our need for a developing economy and the overwhelming importance of preserving ecological integrity and traditional use across the landscape and in large protected areas. He will emphasize community and First Nations involvement as he develops our programs with the dedicated staff and Board of CPAWS-Yukon.

Mike is excited by the opportunities to advance our existing campaigns such as the Three Rivers project and our work with the Kaska First Nation in the South-East Yukon as well as by the possibility of developing funding for new conservation thrusts. Mike looks forward to furthering the CPAWS-Yukon tradition of working collaboratively with all parties in the interests of effective conservation. He is currently transitioning into the position with the assistance of Jim Pojar, our former ED.

Mike’s personal interests in the wilderness are varied and long-standing. He enjoys hunting and fishing, back-country hiking and skiing-camping, wilderness canoe tripping and wildlife work in remote mountainous areas. He is personable, thoughtful, and dynamic and is looking forward to becoming familiar with the broader conservation-minded community.

We know that you will enjoy working with Mike as much as we have enjoyed his volunteer and professional efforts. Mike can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 867-393-8080. Congratulations, Mike, our Board and staff look forward to working with you in this new role!

Jill Pangman, President

May 30 07

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Yukon’s Three Rivers Project a Finalist for Canadian Environment Award
Click here for more information about the Canadian Environment Awards.

Ottawa – CPAWS’ campaign to protect the Yukon’s  “Three Rivers” within the unspoiled Peel watershed  has been given a boost by the recognition of the innovative nature of our efforts – initiated by the Yukon chapter -- to elevate awareness of this conservation opportunity through art, literature, song and the voices of First Nations’ peoples, alongside conservationists. The “Three Rivers Journey” is a finalist in the conservation category for the prestigious annual Canadian Environment Award. The award gala will be held Monday, June 4th in Montreal.

The announcement by Canadian Geographic Magazine recognizes CPAWS-Yukon’s contribution to northern conservation through its ambitious and innovative work on the various components of the Three Rivers Journey; the group art exhibition, Three Rivers: wild waters, sacred places; the book Three Rivers: the Yukon\'s Great Boreal Wilderness; and ongoing work to conserve and protect the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume Rivers within the Peel watershed.

“We’re thrilled that the Three Rivers Project is receiving national recognition, and are proud to be among the many Yukoners who contributed their energy, vision and talents to this exciting endeavor,” said Juri Peepre, project coordinator.

The award nomination comes on the heels of a recent 12 city cross-Canada tour, Journey to the Yukon\'s Three Rivers. Organized by CPAWS, in partnership with Mountain Equipment Co-op and Yukonwild, the tour drew a combined audience of 3,000 people to learn more about the wild waters and sacred places of the Yukon’s great boreal wilderness. The Three Rivers project is part of CPAWS’ ambitious national effort to conserve Canada’s boreal forest ecosystem.

CPAWS will continue to build momentum to help ensure that the Peel Land Use Planning Commission and Yukon government include conservation and protected areas in the plan.  The time is critical as land-use planning in the region is underway and the Commission is in the formative stages of defining the land use options for the region.  The national tour demonstrated that there is both broad Canadian and local Yukon support for conservation in the Peel watershed and that it is indeed of national interest. 


Jill Sturdy, CPAWS 613 569 7226 ext 232

See also: 
Canadian Environment Awards 2007 Press Release 
Canadian Environment Awards Announces Annual Short List of Finalists 
(Acrobat [PDF] format, ~230K)

Background on the Three Rivers Project

Read more about the CPAWS national tour, Journey to the Yukon’s Three Rivers

May 25 07

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CPAWS Yukon reviews Peel Watershed Planning Commission’s Report

The mineral development scenario report prepared for the Yukon\'s Peel Watershed Planning Commission, and funded by the Yukon Government, is a flawed and biased document according to CPAWS Yukon. CPAWS Yukon is gravely concerned that this report assumes that the public interest is best served by exploitation of mineral resources in the Peel watershed and fails to account for constraints to mineral development. CPAWS Yukon has produced both a lengthy critique of the report and this summary version:

Summary of CPAWS-Yukon Review of Peel Watershed Planning Commission\'s Report - Strategic Overview of Possible Mineral Development Scenarios


May 24 07

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Journey to the Yukon’s Three Rivers tour wraps up in Whitehorse

Read more about the tour here!

After more than a month on the road from coast to coast, the Three Rivers national tour ended with a flourish in Whitehorse, on May 17th. Close to 250 Yukoners turned out to celebrate the end of the tour, and acknowledge the Three Rivers Project as a finalist in the conservation category for the 2007 Canadian Environment Award. The annual award is presented by Canadian Geographic Magazine and its partners.

Journey to the Three Rivers attracted big crowds throughout the west, matching the enthusiasm of audiences during the earlier eastern part of the 12-city tour. By the end of the tour, close to 3,000 people heard the Three Rivers story and enjoyed the fetching imagery of landscapes, wildlife and people that underscored the call for its protection.

“There were many highlights on the western tour, but a special moment for me was seeing the line up stretching down the block outside the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon. The local chapter did a fabulous job in spreading the word and the audience was the largest of the whole tour with a full house of 375 people. This event re-affirmed the importance of the vast northern boreal forest that connects and intrigues all Canadians,” said Juri Peepre, the Three Rivers speaker.

The western tour visited Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Yellowknife and Whitehorse. In Edmonton, the event was part of a music and art festival, with the Edmonton chapter’s marvellous Noah’s Ark mosaic of art prominently displayed.

In both Yellowknife and Whitehorse a delegation of Gwich\'in participated and spoke about the importance of conservation in the Three Rivers and the greater Peel watershed. At the tour’s final stop in Whitehorse, First Nation people from Mayo and Ft. McPherson spoke about their connection to the Peel watershed, and read the powerful statements from a community gathering held in February.

Journey to the Three Rivers was sponsored by CPAWS, in partnership with the Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon. The cross-Canada tour was the culmination of a 4-year project that began in 2003 with the Three Rivers Journey, and was followed by a national touring art exhibition, Three Rivers: wild waters, sacred places and book, Three Rivers: The Yukon’s Great Boreal Wilderness.

May 22 07

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Nova Scotia establishes Blandford Nature Reserve: conservation status upgraded from game sanctuary
Halifax, Nova Scotia - Public lands within the Blandford Game Sanctuary will be designated as a nature reserve.
That was the announcement made by the Nova Scotia government on Friday, indicating that the conservation status of the site would be upgraded from its current game sanctuary designation to a nature reserve (the highest form of land-based protection in Nova Scotia).
"This is an important recognition by the province that a nature reserve is a far more effective designation for ecologically significant areas than game sanctuaries", says Chris Miller, Wilderness Conservation Coordinator for CPAWS-NS. "We welcome the government’s decision and we congratulate the local community groups who campaigned so hard to have the public lands at Blandford properly protected".
CPAWS-NS has been advocating for the upgrade in the conservation status of the Blandford site for the past two years, since game sanctuaries in Nova Scotia lack the legislative and administrative tools to protect habitat. Unlike nature reserves, game sanctuaries do not prevent activities such as clearcutting, mining, road-building, or development.
The Blandford Nature Reserve is located on the Aspotogan Peninsula, just west of Halifax. It contains a number of important ecological features, including old jack pine forests, coastal barrens, significant wetlands, rare plants and lichens, and concentrations of migratory birds.
CPAWS-NS will now focus its intentions on upgrading the conservation status of the Chignecto Game Sanctuary. This site, located near the New Brunswick border, is home to one of the largest remaining populations of endangered mainland moose in Nova Scotia.

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