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May 08 07

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CPAWS welcomes new Boreal information resource
CPAWS welcomes the launch today of a new conservation research tool - the Boreal Information Centre.  This Centre is a one stop source of mapped information illustrating the bounty of natural characteristics and human use of North America’s great boreal forest.  CPAWS has been an advisor during the Centre’s development. Sponsored by a coalition of scientists, forest products suppliers and buyers, conservationists and resource managers, the Centre is publicly accessible via the internet at

Aran O’Carroll, CPAWS National Manager of Forest Programs, is also chair of Global Forest Watch Canada, one of the centre’s partners. “We’re pleased to be part of this effort that will make critical data for conservationists available without charge and on-demand,” says O’Carroll.  

The Centre will initially house 50-some data layers and associated summaries of information, for issues such as the location and extent of old-growth forests, for most of the entire boreal forest of Canada. 

“With CPAWS initiatives across the boreal, including efforts to protect “endangered forests”, “critical habitats” and other forests of high conservation value, we are very pleased to be able to access this tool as we work towards achieving our bold boreal forest conservation ambitions,” says O’Carroll.

May 07 07

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Quebec reverses decision on Mont Orford Park

14 months of hard work by CPAWS (SNAP) Quebec as a key member of the SOS Parc Orford coalition has paid off. The Quebec government announced on Monday, May 7that it will reverse its decision to sell off part of Mt Orford National Park. SNAP welcomes this reprieve for the park, and thanks everyone who took action.

However, the government has not closed the door to future condo development – the lands remain excluded from the park, and future development is possible.   SNAP continues to work to ensure “protected” areas in Quebec are truly protected, forever.

May 03 07

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CPAWS calls on feds to stop road, protect entire Nahanni Watershed
OTTAWA – In the wake of an April decision by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board to permit reconstruction of a 170 km winter road through the heart of the Northwest Territories’ Nahanni wilderness area, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is calling on the federal government to act now to ensure that no industrial development proceeds within this world-famous, yet fragile, ecosystem.  

The Board has issued a land use permit to Canadian Zinc Corporation, the junior mining company that owns the proposed Prairie Creek mine, that would permit the company to reconstruct a winter access road that has been abandoned for over 20 years.  CPaWS anticipates that with the road permit in hand, the company may begin re-building activity as early as this summer in the area by clearing brush and hauling in machinery. Over the five years of the permit, the company would be able to use the road to haul supplies such as diesel fuel into the mine, and toxic chemicals such as cyanide out.  

CPAWS has been leading a public campaign to protect the entire South Nahanni Watershed, one of the world’s most spectacular Boreal wilderness treasures, in an expanded national park reserve since 2003.  

“Federal Environment Minister John Baird has said he wants to move forward with protecting the Nahanni by expanding the national park.  It’s crunch time. We are calling on Minister Baird and his colleague, Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice, to sit down with company officials and find a way to stop this road and this mine, before the bulldozers move in,” says Alison Woodley, CPAWS’ Northern Conservation Specialist. 

“If the road were to go through, and if the Prairie Creek mine site were ever to begin operation, the threat to the ecological integrity of the Nahanni would be significant. World leading scientists have advised us that this area is simply too fragile, due to its karst topography and being prone to earthquakes, to ensure that industrial impacts could ever be contained,” adds Woodley.  

The re-constructed winter road would run directly through the mountainous Nahanni karstlands -- an area identified for protection through the expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve which is also a renowned World Heritage Site and premier canoeing destination.  The Nahanni karstlands, just north of the current park boundary, have been identified by scientists as having globally unique and sensitive geological formations that should be added to the park.     

The road permit application was never subject to an environmental assessment. In a 2004 court challenge CPAWS and the local Dehcho First Nations argued that an environmental assessment should be conducted because of the potential environmental impacts of the road on this sensitive area.  Canadian Zinc successfully argued that the permit should be grandfathered from environmental assessment because of a legal loophole that respects old, expired permits. 

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.  



Alison Woodley
Northern Conservation Specialist
(613) 569-7226 ext 227

May 01 07

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Canoeist to Continue 8,000 Kilometre Journey Across Canada
On or around May 20th, as soon as the ice leaves the lakes of Northern Saskatchewan,  Jay Morrison will dip his paddle into Lac Laloche, carry over the historic twenty kilometre Methye Portage into the Arctic watershed and continue a trip he began last summer to voyage by canoe from the Atlantic the Arctic Ocean, following the traditional routes of the Native people and European explorers.

In the summer of 2006 Jay paddled his homemade canoe over 3,000 kilometres from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Lake Winnipeg. He plans to finish in Winnipeg this September.

Thousands of people followed Jay\'s voyage through his online journal at and over 50 media interviews, sharing the experience of paddling Canada\'s historic waterways through both cities and wilderness. While aiming to promote awareness of the need to conserve Canada\'s threatened wilderness and the work of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), the trip also became a voyage of discovery about the nature of Canadians.  Says Jay, "I hope even more people will join me this year through the website and learn about the wild places in Canada and what CPAWS is doing to protect them.  My goal is to inspire Canadians to get involved in whatever way works for them. If we all do a little more we can make a big difference."

"I had imagined the trip would be mainly about overcoming the physical challenges: the wind, waves and rapids and long portages overland, but the most lasting memories from the first year are of the people I met from all walks of life. Everyone was so helpful and I think that a big part of the reason is that Canadians almost universally support doing more to protect our wilderness heritage because wilderness is part of what defines Canada. Public knowledge of global climate change and the desire to do something about has exploded in the past year but I\'m not sure that we are truly aware of the important role that our vast but disappearing Boreal forest plays in mitigating climate change and in cleaning the world\'s fresh water and air as well a providing a home for wildlife.  Canada has a large share of the intact forest that remains on the planet and I believe that we have a responsibility to protect and manage it in a sustainable way."

To learn more about The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society go to:

For media inquiries about Jay\'s trip call: (613) 731-0336

Apr 26 07

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Help choose Canada’s Seven Wonders!

This week CBC launched the Seven Wonders of Canada competition, asking Canadians to nominate their top Canadian wonder. CPAWS canvassed staff and volunteers to ask for their top picks.  We hope you\'ll consider nominating them by visiting the CBC website.

Here are the sites we nominated:

Nahanni, NWT

Nahanni National Park Reserve and World Heritage Site is Canada\'s most renowned northern boreal wilderness area, and home to wildlife such as woodland caribou, grizzly bears, Dall\'s sheep, and peregrine falcons.

Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, AB and BC

Truly Canadian emblems, Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay national parks evoke passion and wonder with their towering jagged peaks, rolling alpine meadows, glacier-fed streams and turquoise waters. Designated a World Heritage Site, this premier destination spot is home to grizzly bears, wolves and soaring eagles.

Three Rivers, YT

The Yukon\'s Three Rivers - the Snake, Wind and Bonnet Plume -- are nestled within the Peel Watershed and anchor two of our country\'s extraordinary natural regions – the boreal forest that cloaks northern Canada like a green mantle, and the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor – an important mountainous refuge for some of the world\'s largest populations of grizzly bears, wolves and eagles.

Gwaii Haanas, BC

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve within the Queen Charlotte Islands off the BC coast is home to the Haida First Nations. The Queen Charlottes are often referred to as the ‘Canadian Galapagos\' because of the number of unique species only found there.

Canada\'s woodland caribou

One of Canada\'s most well-loved iconic species, this emblematic creature that graces our quarter is threatened with extinction but we can still save it by protecting our vast intact Boreal forests and wetlands.

Algonquin Park, ON

Ontario\'s oldest provincial park, Algonquin Park is a sought-after paddling and camping destination and home to red wolves pine marten and black bears that has offered generations of urbanites their first experience of Canada\'s wilderness landscape.

Athabasca Sand dunes, SK

Rising suddenly from Saskatchewan\'s boreal forest on the shore of lake Athabasca, the spectacular Athabasca sand dunes are home to 52 species of rare plants.

Apr 20 07

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CPAWS Wildlands League issues warning about “green” east-west power corridor
TORONTO -- In response to today\'s planned Green Power Corridor Summit in Ottawa, a leading Ontario conservation group is warning caution about a proposed east-west mega hydro corridor that would bisect Ontario\'s intact Boreal Forest. CPAWS Wildlands League, a chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, warns that building a mega hydro corridor accompanied by roads would permanently remove forests and fragment intact Boreal ecosystems.

"We want Canadians to know that this project is not a panacea. It must be approached with caution," says Anna Baggio Director, Conservation Land Use Planning for CPAWS Wildlands League." Canada\'s Boreal Forest is the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon on the planet. "Protecting the carbon stored in intact Boreal Forest ecosystems must be part of the plan for any new resource development project," Baggio adds.

The proposed corridor would transmit power between Manitoba and Ontario cutting through a broad swath of Ontario\'s Northern Boreal region. CPAWS Wildlands League urges governments to proceed with caution and says the construction of a corridor must meet the following conditions:

  • The project must demonstrate that it is better than alternatives.  Ontario needs a long-term energy strategy that addresses how we are going to transition from the current mix of sources to a sustainable energy future. Ontario is just beginning to explore options for conserving energy and the potential of renewable energy to augment supply. These options should be exhausted before plans that could destroy fragile northern ecosystem are trumpeted as "green" alternatives.
  • Routes for the project should be considered through already fragmented landscapes before intact ones are permanently disturbed and opened up for further industrialization.
  • If fragmenting the intact Boreal ecosystem of Ontario is determined after exhausting all other options, then it should proceed only AFTER conservation-based land use planning determines how to protect the region\'s ecological integrity.
  • The carbon implications of this project must be fully accounted for.  This includes calculating the impacts of permanently disrupting carbon-rich peatlands and intact Boreal Forests.
  • Aboriginal Peoples have constitutionally protected rights which require governments to fully consult and accommodate their rights, interests and concerns in advance of planning and construction.
Background- Is this green power or brown power?

To be green, power must meet or exceed the ecological bar on two counts -- how and where it is produced.

How power is produced dictates how damaging to the environment it is. Where power is produced is equally as important in deciding whether power is green. There are two components to be considered, where the power source is and how far it is from market or end user. Green power facilities can only be sited after completion of a comprehensive land use plan taking into consideration all land uses, including impacts to species and vegetation. In addition, to be truly "green", facilities must be constructed close to the end user. Why? Long transmission corridors and transportation of power can be as damaging to the environment and as inefficient as a heavy power production footprint.

For further information: Anna Baggio, (416) 453-3285,

Apr 17 07

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CPAWS-Nova Scotia scores another win

The Nova Scotia government has just passed a new piece of legislation that enshrines into law a 50% targeted expansion of the current system of protected areas in Nova Scotia over the next few years.

The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act sets in law a target of 12% of the Nova Scotia landmass as legally protected by 2015. Currently, only about 8% of the province is designated as protected areas. The Act also requires yearly reporting to the legislature on progress toward achieving the 12% target. The Nova Scotia government has previously announced a 12% target but has never before enshrined this goal in legislation.

CPAWS-NS has long been advocating for an expansion to the current protected areas system and our chapter participated directly in the legislative process for this Bill by testifying in front of the Law Amendments Committee on April 10th. In Nova Scotia, there is a unique process in place where any member of the public can propose amendments to a new piece of legislation while it is being debated in the House, between second and third reading.

CPAWS-NS was successful at inserting a clause into the new Act that clearly defines "legally protected" as sites that contribute to biological conservation goals, such as wilderness areas, nature reserves, and national parks. This was to avoid having certain types of protected areas included in the 12% that do not exclude industrial activities, such as game sanctuaries (which are extensively clearcut in Nova Scotia).

The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act also sets a number of targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing a no net loss policy for wetlands, increasing the use of alternative energies, and reducing certain types of pollutants, in addition to that of the protected areas target.

CPAWS-NS will now be recommending specific high-value conservation sites for the expanded protected areas system.


Chris Miller
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Apr 17 07

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Conservatives add hot air to climate problem in Ontario
TORONTO - Today a leading conservation group criticized the Ontario Progressive Conservatives for its failure to include forest protection in its newly released climate change plan  for Ontario. "Good climate change plans must include forest protection as a complementary strategy to emissions reductions, otherwise we risk building a massive carbon debt by logging the carbon rich Boreal Forest," says Janet Sumner Executive Director, CPAWS Wildlands League.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 hectares of Ontario\'s public forests are logged each year - an area more than three times the size of the entire City of Toronto. By removing the vast amounts of carbon stored in the trees, scientific estimates suggest that these logging and associated disturbance activities release the equivalent of 15 MT of CO2 each year. Protecting the carbon stored in intact Boreal Forest ecosystems must be an important part of any response to global warming.

"Ontario could prevent 7 MT of CO2 from going into the atmosphere by protecting the last vestiges of woodland caribou habitat in the commercial Boreal Forest in the province right now," adds Sumner. "Ontario should also be incorporating a carbon accounting framework into all its resource development decisions. This is an essential component of land use planning before development that is needed in the Northern Boreal Forest."

The Ontario Progressive Conservative\'s climate change plan is hard on targets matching the BC plan 10 per cent by 2020 and 60 per cent by 2050. However, the plan does not provide detailed emission reduction action plans for transportation, housing or any large industrial emitters; choosing instead to focus on what government departments can do to minimize energy use from government buildings and reduce emissions from the government fleet.

The approach favoured by John Tory is also to invite more consultation on sector by sector emission reductions. "This is just adding more hot air to the climate issue in Ontario," says Sumner, "The public wants action not endless consultation on this issue. It is unfortunate Mr. Tory didn\'t use the opportunity to provide leadership on the number one issue for Canadians," Sumner adds.

Hundreds of emission reduction actions have already been identified through two rounds of federal government stakeholder consultations and more again through the provincial government consultations held late last year.

For more information, please visit or contact:
Janet Sumner, Executive Director,
CPAWS Wildlands League,
(416) 971-9453 ext 39 or
416-579-7370 cell

Apr 16 07

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CPAWS national tour underway to promote Yukon wilderness conservation

CPAWS’ 12 city tour featuring the Three Rivers, the Wind, the Snake and the Bonnet Plume in the Yukon’s Peel watershed kicked off April 11 in Montreal. By May 17 it will have visited 12 cities from coast to coast.  During each show, Yukon conservationist Juri Peepre shares stories and spectacular still and video footage of trips taken down the rivers in the summer of 03 by Canadian artists, members of the Gwitchin First Nations and conservationists, all in the cause of protecting this pristine yet threatened part of Canada’s Boreal wilderness.  

» See tour details 

Apr 02 07

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In memory of Karen Blinkhorn, valued CPAWS staff member

Daughter, sister, aunt, colleague. CPAWS-BC communications coordinator from 2004 – 2007. Died March 26 en route to Samburu National Park, Kenya in a traffic accident, aged 33. 


Karen Blinkhorn loved life to the fullest and up until the day she died, it loved her right back. A passionate environmentalist and talented communicator who was also known for her commitment to “knitting the perfect sock”, Karen was taken tragically and far too young from her family, friends and colleagues who loved and valued her deeply. 

To niece Emily, 11 and nephew Jordan, 12, Aunt Karen was their “Indiana Jones”. Their adored aunt had traveled more of the world than everyone else in their family combined. The children treasured Karen’s postcards and letters postmarked from Cuba, the Inca trail, England, Greece and every point in Canada.  

When she died, Karen was about to fulfill a life-long dream of seeing the great elephants of east Africa in their remaining natural habitat. She had planned and saved for the safari to Samburu National Park for years. Family and colleagues shared her enthusiasm in the months before her departure as she emailed photos of the amazing nature reserves she planned to visit.  

A close family from southeastern Ontario made even closer by tragedy when Karen’s older brother John died at 19 in 1989,  mother Gloria and dad Dave, “little brother” Jim, 31, and older sister Alison are buoyed by memories of the love Karen shared so freely with them, and the outpouring of affection after her death from her friends and colleagues. 

Karen knew what she believed in from a young age. According to Alison, Karen had a strong independent streak and even as a child, she stood up for what she believed was right. Fortunately for her colleagues at the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Karen’s strong beliefs and spirit moved her to first volunteer in Ottawa and then to seek a job with the organization in British Columbia.  


After graduating from high school in Athens, Ontario and earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science at the University of Western Ontario, Karen knew she wanted to combine her academic background with her creative skills to benefit wild spaces and conservation. She decided to gain public relations skills, and moved to Ottawa where she completed her diploma at Algonquin College in 2003. 

A skilled writer with the ability to turn “a file folder full of emails and other documents” into a news release or a feature story, Karen blossomed when she became the communications coordinator for CPAWS’ British Columbia chapter. She moved to Vancouver in 2004 to take on the job, and walked daily, rain or shine, from her West end apartment to the downtown office.   


A gentle soul, quiet and understated, with a dry sense of humour, Karen was always the first to greet colleagues visiting from other CPAWS’ offices with a hug and a query about how they were doing, and she was the one who remembered every office colleague’s birthday. A dedicated chocaholic who spoke of visiting all the best chocolatiers in Paris, Karen was also a vegetarian who loved Vancouver’s Bo Kong Restaurant. But most of all, Karen loved to share a meal with family, friends and colleagues. 

In the years before she died, Karen created websites for CPAWS and other community groups where people could post pictures of their favourite BC parks, or promote the establishment of new protected areas for endangered habitat. She also organized innovative public events to help people re-connect with our country’s great natural heritage.  

Although she lived only 33 years, Karen Blinkhorn’s contribution to wilderness conservation and her love for her family will be felt for generations. Her legacy will live on in a memorial fund CPAWS is establishing for future projects in her name. 

» To make a donation to CPAWS in Karen\'s memory 

» Read more about Karen\'s life at CPAWS British Columbia

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