February 05, 2010 09:34 ET
New National Park Reserve to protect important boreal forest landscape
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(Marketwire - Feb. 5, 2010) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada and the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Newfoundland and Labrador's Minister of Environment and Conservation, today announced that they have agreed to take the necessary steps to establish a new national park reserve in the Mealy Mountains area of Labrador. The park reserve will protect roughly 10,700 sq km, which will make it the largest national park in eastern Canada. The provincial government also announced its intent to establish a waterway provincial park to protect the Eagle River, adjacent to the proposed national park reserve. Together these areas will protect over 13,000 sq km.
"As we enter into the International Year of Biodiversity, it is fitting that we are working to establish a national park reserve to protect this spectacular boreal landscape for all time, for all Canadians," said Minister Prentice. "This part of Labrador is not only of ecological significance, it is also of great cultural importance and we are committed to moving forward in a way that recognizes and respects the traditional connections people have with the land."
"The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is pleased to dedicate an area of Labrador rich in natural and cultural heritage to the people of the province, the country, and indeed the world, to protect these special places for all time," said Minister Johnson. "This initiative demonstrates our understanding of the importance of our ecosystems and our commitment to biodiversity conservation. We are very happy to work toward establishing this national park in our province, and we are most thankful to the Steering Committee that helped make this a reality."
At the announcement, the Ministers unveiled the boundary for the national park reserve along with a conceptual boundary for an adjacent waterway provincial park. They accepted the consensus recommendations of the Steering Committee for the National Park Feasibility Study, and signed a memorandum of understanding outlining the next steps the two governments will take to establish the national park reserve, including the negotiation of a federal-provincial land transfer agreement.
Additionally, a waterway provincial park in the Eagle River watershed will encompass some 3,000 square kilometres of wilderness and include almost the entire length of the Eagle River from the headwaters to the sea.
Together, these parks in the Mealy Mountains, when established, will protect a stunning array of boreal ecosystems and wildlife, along with landscapes of great cultural significance.
Consultations with Aboriginal groups will continue throughout the national park reserve establishment process. As recommended by the Steering Committee for the feasibility study, traditional land use activities by Labradorians will be permitted to continue within the national park reserve, managed to emphasize ecological integrity and conservation measures.
A backgrounder accompanies this news release at http://www.pc.gc.ca/agen/ne/index_e.asp.
Office of the Minister of the EnvironmentFrederic BarilPress Secretary819-997-1441orParks CanadaNational Corporate Communications BranchMedia Relations819-994-3023orNL Department of Environment and ConservationMelony O'NeillDirector of Communications709-729-2575, firstname.lastname@example.org
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