make a donation

CPAWS receives Royal Canadian Geographic Society’s Gold Medal

November 3rd, 2011

Ottawa --  Today the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Parks Canada and the Dehcho First Nations  were granted the prestigious Royal Canadian Geographic Society’s Gold Medal for their collaborative and groundbreaking work to expand Nahanni National Park Reserve.

“This award is truly shared with all of CPAWS’ supporters across Canada.  Thank you to the thousands who wrote letters to politicians, signed postcards, made donations and offered words of support throughout the many years it took to secure expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve,” says National Board of Trustees President Oliver Kent. Today, the Nahanni National Park Reserve encompasses 30,000km2 of protected breathtaking wilderness and wildlife. 

Established in 1972, The RCGS Gold Medal recognizes remarkable achievements in the general field of geography, or significant national or international events.

Photo (left to right): Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director,
Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment,
Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Sam Gargan
and John Geiger, President of RCGS


“The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) share the Dehcho First Nations’ vision of conservation for their traditional territory, a collaboration that helped lead to the expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve.  But for CPAWS, the realization of this vision was neither the beginning nor the end of the organization’s tireless work to preserve the grandeur of the Northwest Territories wilderness for future generations.  Its efforts began in the late 1960s, when CPAWS – then known as the National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada – campaigned against a hydroelectric project that would have impeded one of Canada’s most glorious waterways.  Then, as now, its efforts paid off.  In 1972, a corridor along the Nahanni River was set aside as a National Park Reserve.

“CPAWS recognized then that this linear park wasn’t enough to protect the integrity of the area’s complex and vibrant ecosystem, but it also recognized that the timing was not yet right for the park’s expansion, so it directed its energy toward other worthwhile projects.  When the opportunity arose, CPAWS’ focus returned to the Nahanni with renewed vigour, and this spirit is being sustained in its ongoing support for the Sahtu Dene and Métis as they negotiate the creation of the proposed Nááts’ichch’oh National Park Reserve in the headwaters of the Nahanni River adjacent to the existing National Park Reserve.

“In addition to raising the profile of conversation issues, CPAWS has helped to successfully mobilize the supporters of national parks by encouraging them to participate in Parks Canada’s public consultations.  By striving to ensure that the voices of conservation-minded Canada’s are heard and heeded, CPAWS has helped foster the growth of Canada’s national parks system and played an important role in ensuring that Canada remains a world leader in land and wildlife conservation.”


For more information, contact:
Alison Woodley, National Conservation Director  at 613-569-7226 ext.230