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article imageManitoba protects boreal north by creating 2 new provincial parks

By Stephanie Dearing     Dec 4, 2010 in Environment
On December 1st, the Province of Manitoba (Canada) announced the creation of two new provincial parks, Colvin Lake and Nueltin Lake.
Together, the new parks “will protect 610,000 hectares of pristine northern-transition forest habitat with a total area 10 times larger than Winnipeg,” said Manitoba’s Premier, Greg Selinger. The announcement, made in conjunction with the Northlands Denesuline First Nation and Sayisi Dene First Nation, was welcomed by the Canadian Boreal Initiative. Executive Director for the organization, Larry Innes said. (sic) “We congratulate the Government of Manitoba and the Northlands Denesuline and Sayisi Dene First Nations for protecting these ecologically and culturally areas.”
Executive Director Ron Thiessen of CPAWs Manitoba, an organization that has lobbied the province of Manitoba for the creation of the two parks, was enthusiastic about the new development. “For those of us working toward large-scale protection of Manitoba’s Boreal Region, and for all Manitobans, this is a tremendous victory,” Thiessen said. “The new parks are great step toward realizing protection of at least half of Manitoba’s Boreal Wilderness Region, the minimum amount required to ensure it remains a fully functioning part of Earth’s life’s support system.”
Selinger said it was important to protect the wilderness before it has been touched by human development. “You only get one chance to protect pristine boreal forest and tundra,” he said. “By protecting this land, we are preserving our wilderness heritage for future generations and supporting the growth of ecotourism while respecting the people who call the area home.”
The parks partly lie within traditional territories held by the Northlands Denesuline and Sayisi Dene First Nations, but those communities will still be able to access the land for traditional uses, including hunting, fishing, and trapping, said the government of Manitoba.
The two parks together are larger than Prince Edward Island, said CPAWs. Manitoba noted that both parks “fall in an area of transition between boreal forest and tundra landscapes in the northwest corner of Manitoba.” The parks represent a stunning wealth of natural resources, including “numerous freshwater lakes, eskers and frost-heaved rock and boulder fields ... The new parks provide habitat for diverse plant communities and wildlife species such as the Qamanirjuaq barren ground caribou herds, moose, black bear, wolverine, wolf, lynx, fox, river otter, weasel and mink.”
The Manitoba government said the parks were created after a public consultation process. The parks are designated “under the wilderness land-use category,” which means activities such as commercial logging, mining, hydroelectric development among others are prohibited. Selinger said the two parks “store an estimated 126 million tonnes of carbon, the equivalent to the emissions of 2.5 million cars in 10 years.”
The rightfully proud Premier said “The designation of these parks sees the percentage of Manitoba lands under permanent protection jump to 9.9 per cent.
Sources:
Government of Maniboba: Press Release
Boreal Canada Initiative: Press Release
CPAWs: Manitoba Parks Announced
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