A proud day for Canada: Nahanni becomes one of world's greatest parks



    OTTAWA, June 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
(CPAWS) is celebrating the historic announcement today by Environment Minister
Jim Prentice and DehCho First Nations Grand Chief Gerald Antoine of the final
boundaries for the greatly expanded Nahanni National Park Reserve in the
Northwest Territories.
    The world famous park reserve is now nearly seven times the size of the
original one established in 1972. It will permanently protect over 30,000 km2
of Boreal wilderness - an area the size of Vancouver Island.
    "The Nahanni is the jewel of Canada's Boreal forest, and one of the
world's greatest wilderness treasures. Canada has shown true global leadership
by protecting it," says CPAWS National Executive Director Eric Hébert-Daly.
    "With this announcement the federal government has created a national
park that can take its place alongside Banff and Jasper as one of the world's
great protected areas," says Harvey Locke, CPAWS Senior Advisor for
Conservation.
    The announcement of final boundaries comes nearly two years after Prime
Minister Harper and former Environment Minister John Baird promised a massive
expansion of the park, crowning years of collective work by CPAWS, local First
Nations and many others to convince the federal government to permanently
protect this iconic wilderness area.
    "The elders of Nahanni Butte and the leaders of the Dehcho First Nations
were determined to see this through," says Lani Cook, Executive Director of
CPAWS NWT Chapter. "For the past nine years, we have been honoured to work
closely with them to get protection for the Nahanni."

    National campaign led to Nahanni's protection

    Today's announcement caps a 35-year effort by CPAWS to expand Nahanni
National Park Reserve. When the CPAWS' campaign went national six years ago,
thousands of Canadians across the country became involved, writing letters and
demonstrating their support.
    "Nahanni's popularity and iconic status are well-deserved," adds Locke.
    The Nahanni is a spectacular example of intact Boreal wilderness that is
also of spiritual importance to local First Nations. The watershed contains
Virginia Falls, which is twice the height of Niagara, deep canyons, and unique
limestone caves and formations. It is home to woodland caribou, grizzly bears,
mountain goats, and Dall's sheep.
    "It's no exaggeration to say that the Nahanni is an ecological treasure
of global significance. Today's announcement guarantees its future and
promises that generations of Dehcho First Nations, northerners, other
Canadians, and visitors from around the world will have the chance to
experience this unspoiled wilderness," says Hébert-Daly.
    "CPAWS is proud to have played an important part in protecting Nahanni
forever. We gratefully acknowledge the support of thousands of Canadians in
the North and across the country who made this happen," adds Hébert-Daly.
    CPAWS thanks its many supporters over the years on this campaign,
including the Canadian Boreal Initiative, the Conservation Alliance, Mountain
Equipment Co-op, the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada and Nahanni River
Adventures, which along with Blackfeather and Nahanni Wilderness Adventures
created a special fund to support CPAWS' efforts to protect Nahanni Forever.
    CPAWS will continue to work with the Sahtu Dene and Métis on permanent
protection of Naats'ihch'oh National Park in the Nahanni Headwaters and Sahtu
region.

    Since 1963, CPAWS has played a leading role in establishing more than
two-thirds of Canada's protected areas. Our vision is that Canada will protect
at least half of our wilderness forever.




For further information:

For further information: Ellen Adelberg, (613) 569-7226 x 234, cell
(613)292-2875; In NWT: Lani Cooke, (867) 445-8831; Also available:
Backgrounder, Photos and B Roll, www.cpaws.org/nahanni

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