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New Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve leaves wildlife habitat and Nahanni tributaries unprotected

  • Published on Aug 22 2012 |
  • This article is tagged as: nahanni, parks

Norman Wells, NWT -- The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcomes this morning’s announcement of a new national park reserve, Nááts’ihch’oh (pronounced naah-tseen-CHO), in the Northwest Territories.  However, CPAWS cautions that the park boundary, announced by the Prime Minister, falls far short of what is needed to protect the ecological integrity of the world-renowned Nahanni watershed, leaving critical wildlife habitat, including caribou calving and breeding grounds, and source waters of the Nahanni River outside the park boundary.

“Creating a new national park in Canada is always welcome news,” said Alison Woodley, CPAWS’ National Conservation Director. “But this boundary does not reflect the extensive scientific evidence of what’s needed to protect the ecological integrity of the Nahanni watershed, nor does it reflect the overwhelming support that was expressed for protecting the Nahanni headwaters during the public consultations.”

Nááts’ihch’oh is an area of great ecological and cultural significance. Located in the upper watershed, or headwaters, of the famed South Nahanni River watershed, it lies upstream and adjacent to Nahanni National Park Reserve and World Heritage Site. This area includes critical habitat for Nahanni and Redstone mountain woodland caribou herds, as well as grizzly bears, Dall’s sheep and mountain goats. The national park announced today leaves the most important habitat for these species outside the park.

“CPAWS recognizes the years of work of the Sahtu Dene and Metis communities of Tulita and Norman Wells, as well as Parks Canada to create this new national park,” said Kris Brekke, Executive Director of CPAWS Northwest Territories Chapter. “We hope to continue to work together to achieve the goal of fully protecting the Nahanni watershed.”

“With the interest in resource development in Canada’s North at an all-time high, protecting important ecological and cultural lands like Nááts’ihch’oh is more important than ever to safeguard our lands and waters, and the wildlife and northern way of life they sustain,” notes Brekke.

CPAWS has worked for more than four decades to protect the Nahanni, campaigning to secure the original Nahanni National Park Reserve in the early 1970s and decades later celebrating the Dehcho First Nations and Government of Canada’s action to massively expand Nahanni National Park Reserve in 2009.  For many years CPAWS has worked to secure the protection of the Nahanni headwaters.

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Further resources:

CPAWS Nááts’ihch’oh backgrounder : www.cpaws.org/uploads/Naatsihchoh_Backgrounder.pdf
Final park boundary: http://cpaws.org/uploads/Naatsihchoh_boundary.pdf
Parks Canada News Release : http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/cp-nr/index_e.asp
Parks Canada Proposed Boundary Options (2010) : http://cpaws.org/uploads/Boundary_options_FINAL_ENG_2010-02-16.pdf
Parks Canada Final Public Consultation Report (2010) : http://cpaws.org/uploads/NAATSIHCHOH_NATIONAL_PARK_Final_Consultation_Report-August2010.pdf
 

For interviews, contact:

Jessie Corey, National Public Relations Coordinator
(613) 569-7226, ext 232 (office)
(613) 255-6066 (cell)
jessie@cpaws.org