A park is born

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park is the N.W.T.’s new star
  • Sep 30, 2012
  • 254 words
  • 2 minutes
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The float plane does a slow curl and lands gracefully on one of the bodies of water that make up the area known as Moose Ponds near the southern Northwest Territories-Yukon border. Prime Minister Stephen Harper emerges from the aircraft and, against the backdrop of Nááts’ihch’oh Mountain, describes the location as a spectacular place for a new national park. The next morning, on the shore of the Mackenzie River in Norman Wells, NWT, in late August, he makes the official announcement of the establishment of the territory’s Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve.

The creation of Canada’s 44th national park was the result of two years of negotiation between Parks Canada and the Sahtu Dene and Métis of the Tulita District. Frank Andrew, Grand Chief of the Sahtu Dene Council and Chief of the Tulita Dene Band Council, calls the park a special and sacred place travelled by First Nations for many years. Yet Andrew and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society had hoped that the park would be larger, setting aside more land for conservation and leaving less land open to potential resource extraction, something they say they’ll continue to push for in the weeks and months ahead.

Canada’s newest national park adjoins the Nahanni National Park Reserve and reaches to the Yukon boundary to the west. It represents an area of 4,850 square kilometres that is home to grizzly bears, Dall’s sheep, mountain goats and trumpeter swans. Together, the two park reserves encompass 70 percent of the upper South Nahanni River watershed.


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