Tursujuq: Park created through exemplary cooperation

MONTREAL, Dec. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - Today at Umiujaq in Nunavik, Yves-François Blanchet, the new Minister of sustainable development, the environment, wildlife and parks (MDDEFP), announced the creation of Tursujuq National Park. The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) would like to commend the cooperative efforts of all stakeholders, which allowed for the creation of Quebec's largest national park.

For more than 10 years, various stakeholders and Aboriginal groups have contributed to the project, including the Government of Quebec, the Kativik Regional Administration, Inuit and Cree elders and members of the villages of Umiujaq, Kuujjuarapik and Whapmagoostui, the Grand Council of the Crees, the Makivik Corporation, the Avataq Cultural Institute, members of the scientific community, CBI, CPAWS Quebec and the Pew Environment Group. Their willingness, knowledge and combined efforts allowed the park, which covers 26,100 km2 of land at the junction of the boreal forest and tundra, to finally see the light of day.

"We consider the creation of this park by way of a cooperative process with the Inuit and Cree is a model for the establishment of parks and protected areas throughout the boreal region," explained Valérie Courtois, CBI's Senior Advisor, Aboriginal Relations.

Tursujuq National Park, which will be managed by the Kativik Regional Government, triples the total area of Quebec's national parks. In addition, while enabling the Inuit and the Cree to practise their traditional subsistence activities, Tursujuq Park means the preservation of populations of species of concern. These include one of the world's only populations of freshwater seals, endangered beluga whales of the East coast of Hudson Bay, the only population of salmon on the East coast of Hudson Bay, and polar bears.

"Creation of this huge area, free of any industrial activity, represents the first grand responsible gesture of the Marois Government, which we hope will be part of a broader ecological planning process across the North," noted Suzann Méthot, Regional Director, Quebec for CBI. "We would like to see early 2013 as the start of this process, with the participation of all Nations and communities of the North. Benefits of such planning would include ensuring connectivity between the different protected areas, and greater resilience to climate change."

About the Canadian Boreal Initiative
The Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for the conservation and sustainable development of the Boreal forest. It works as a catalyst by supporting on-the-ground efforts, across the Boreal, by governments, industry, Aboriginal nations, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.

SOURCE: Canadian Boreal Initiative

For further information:

Suzann Méthot, regional director - Québec - CBI (514) 792-1843
smethot@borealcanada.ca