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CPAWS welcomes federal step towards protecting NWT’s Great Boreal wilderness


On June 20, 2007, the Government of Canada extended the interim protection for Edéhzhíe (the Horn Plateau) in the Northwest Territories until October 31, 2008.  Edéhzhíe, a vast 25,000 sq km area of Boreal wilderness in the Mackenzie Valley, is rich in wildlife including Boreal woodland caribou. It is also an important source of water, and an area of great cultural importance to local First Nations people.  The extension will allow more time to complete the studies and management plan needed to establish a National Wildlife Area to protect the site.

CPAWS welcomes this initiative by Environment Minister John Baird, following up on his January 2007 commitment to advance protected areas in the Northwest Territories.

"We urge the Government of Canada to move quickly to take further steps to protect three other NWT sites that have also been long identified as requiring protection -- the South Nahanni Watershed, the Ramparts wetlands, and Thaydene Nene in the Akaitcho region of the NWT," says CPAWS NWT Executive Director Daryl Sexsmith.

These are all areas that local First Nations, CPAWS and other conservation organizations, and the territorial and federal governments  agree are important to protect from industrial activity to conserve the NWT\'s delicate ecological balance and honour First Nations cultural history.

As a signatory to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, CPAWS supports the goal of protecting at least half of Canada\'s Boreal forest in a network of parks and other protected areas, with carefully managed development permitted only in the remainder.

In the NWT, we are calling for complementary regional networks of protected areas to serve as the foundation for a sustainable environment that serves the long-term interests of NWT residents and all Canadians.

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For more information:
Darha Phillpot,
Conservation Coordinator
(867) 873-9893 ext 25