Parks Canada

Parks Canada

January 21, 2010 09:00 ET

Government of Canada Announces Launch of Public Consultations for Proposed Naats'ihch'oh National Park Reserve

Another Key Step in the Protection of the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 21, 2010) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced further progress towards the conservation of precious lands in Canada's North by formally launching public consultations for the proposed Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve, in the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem in the Northwest Territories.

"The Government of Canada is once again taking action to protect Canada's North for the use and enjoyment of future generations," said Minister Prentice. "This is a historic opportunity for Canadians to get involved with shaping the future of their national parks, in particular the protection of the spectacular headwaters of the world-famous South Nahanni River."

The area proposed for the establishment of Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve encompasses the vital headwaters area of the South Nahanni River and is situated in the Sahtu Settlement Area of the Northwest Territories.

The Government of Canada took an unprecedented step for the conservation of Canada's northern ecosystems when it announced the massive expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve in June 2009. The additional protection of the South Nahanni River Headwaters in the proposed Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve would be the final key step in the protection of the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem.

"This announcement reinforces the importance this Government places on consulting Aboriginal people and communities on important conservation initiatives in accordance with our Northern Strategy," said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians. "We are proud to be working with Aboriginal peoples in Canada to protect the land and culture for future generations."

Consultations in the Sahtu Settlement area will include the land corporations, the renewable resource councils and the Tulita Dene Band. Other Aboriginal governments and organisations, third parties and the Canadian public will all have an opportunity to provide their input. The input received will be used to inform deliberations on a final boundary for the proposed Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve.

"Water is important to life and it is important to us to save our water. The South Nahanni River watershed will be well protected through Nááts'ihch'oh and that will be a very good inheritance to leave for future generations," said Chief Frank Andrew, member of Tulita Nááts'ihch'oh Working Group.

In April 2008, the Government of Canada announced a temporary land withdrawal for the proposed Nááts'ihch'oh with the goal of ensuring the conservation of a part of the Mackenzie Mountains natural region of Canada, and protection of the ecological integrity of this area. At the same time, Parks Canada and the designated Sahtu organizations signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and a contribution agreement to fund two years of negotiations to complete an Impact and Benefit Plan. The negotiations involve the Tulita District land corporations, the renewable resource councils, and the Tulita Dene Band. The Impact and Benefit Plan is required by the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement prior to establishing a national park in the Sahtu, and is nearing completion.

The year 2010 marks the 125th anniversary of the creation of Canada's first national park and the world's third protected area, as well as the International Year of Biodiversity, a celebration that brings greater attention to the importance of protecting biodiversity around the world. Everyday, for the past 125 years, Parks Canada staff from across the country work hard to protect and present Canada's natural treasures. The establishment of national parks and national marine conservation areas is ensuring that Canada's natural landscape and unique biodiversity are protected for all Canadians to understand, appreciate and enjoy. Today's announcement is a concrete example of the Government of Canada's commitment towards the protection of Canada's exceptional biodiversity for future generations.

(Also available on the Internet at under Media Room.)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    Parks Canada
    National Corporate Communications Branch
    Media Relations