Canada has announced one of the largest land conservation initiatives in Canadian history near the East Arm of Great Slave Lake and around the Ramparts River and Wetlands, both in the Northwest Territories. The northern wilderness set aside totals more than 10 million hectares.
The interim land withdrawals announced November 21 by Minister Baird and the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians are a major step forward towards creating a national park in the East Arm of Great Slave Lake and a national wildlife area for the Ramparts River and Wetlands (Ts'ude niline Tu'eyeta). The Government also announced an Interim Land Withdrawal to protect approximately 62,000 square kilometers with the Akaitcho Dene First Nations from the allowance of mineral staking, sale or lease during the course of negotiations.
"All total, today's announcement by the federal government amounts to the largest land withdrawal for interim protection in Canadian history," said Lorne Johnson, Ottawa Bureau Director, WWF-Canada. "This is a great example of sequencing conservation first, up front in the development process, while we still have a chance to protect the North's lands and waters."
In the last year, the Government of Canada has committed to:
- a massive expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve;
- creation of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area;
- $30 million to protect the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia;
- $3 million to the restoration of Stanley Park in Vancouver and Point Pleasant Park in Halifax;
- $225 million for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to preserve and conserve up to half a million acres of land across the country;
- $5 million to protect the Sahoyúé §ehdacho National Historic Site on the shores of Great Bear Lake, the largest lake in Canada.
The Government will be also providing $3 million for a study to assess the feasibility of establishing a national park in the vicinity of the East Arm of Great Slave Lake and $830,000 over five years to establish the Ramparts River and Wetlands National Wildlife Area.
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