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CPAWS welcomes federal commitment to protect important NWT ecological and cultural site

Yellowknife - CPAWS is pleased that Federal Environment Minister John Baird announced yesterday that Sahoyúé-§ehdacho, two large peninsulas covering 5550 km2 on Great Bear Lake, will be permanently protected as a National Historic Site.  The Minister announced federal funding of $5 million over five years, followed by $700,000 per year to achieve this goal. 

This unique cultural and ecological region has been identified for protection by the Sahtugot\'ine (Dene people of Great Bear Lake). CPAWS has been working with the Sahtugot\'ine from the community of Deline to protect these sites for nearly 10 years.

"We welcome this move - the first in what we hope the federal government, working with other partners, will protect in a series of critical cultural and ecological landscapes identified under the NWT Protected Areas strategy, national parks and regional land use plans," says Daryl Sexsmith, Executive Director of CPAWS-NWT.

"It is critical that the governments responsible for the NWT, working with other stakeholders, ensure that a network of protected areas are set aside before major industrial development, forecloses the opportunity" adds Sexsmith. 

The NWT offers one of the most important opportunities in the world to protect large-scale Boreal wilderness, and put Canada on the map as a leader in nature conservation - vital to protecting caribou and cultural livelihoods, responding to climate change and conserving clean water and air.

"We look forward to more announcements in the near future from the government to protect other sites in the NWT that have been identified as immediate opportunities, including the Ts\'ude niline Tu\'eyeta (Ramparts River and Wetlands), Edéhzhíe (Horn Plateau) the South Nahanni Watershed, and a proposed national park on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, " adds Sexsmith. 


About Sahoyúé (Grizzly Bear Mountain) - §ehdacho (Scented Grass Hills):

  • Sahoyúé-§ehdacho  contains approximately 5550 km2 of intact boreal forest on two peninsulas reaching into Great Bear Lake. Great Bear Lake is the largest lake that is completely contained within the boundaries of Canada, the 9th largest lake in the world.   
  • Sahoyúé - §ehdacho are important cultural landscapes, central to how the Sahtugot\'ine see and define themselves.  They are important teaching, healing and spiritual places, where elders pass on their heritage to the younger generations.
  • The cultural values of Sahoyúé - §ehdacho are expressed through the inter-relationship between the landscape, oral histories, graves and cultural resources, such as trails and cabins.  
  • Sahoyúé-§ehdacho is home to woodland caribou, grizzly bear, wolverine and Peregrine Falcon. 
  • Sahoyúé-§ehdacho is a traditional harvesting area for fish, berries, medicine plants and wildlife.  



Contact: Daryl Sexsmith (867-873-9893 ext 24)