Canadian Boreal Initiative applauds federal Government for advancing expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve

    FORT SIMPSON, NWT, Aug. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Boreal Initiative
(CBI) congratulates the Government of Canada on today's announcement for
dedicating an additional 5,400 square kilometers towards the Nahanni National
Park Reserve and securing further protection for the South Nahanni watershed.
We commend the Prime Minister, Minister Baird, the Dehcho First Nations and
the Government of the Northwest Territories for their decisive action.
    "This is a major step towards expanding the Nahanni National Park Reserve
- a Canadian icon, world renowned national park and World Heritage Site in the
Northwest Territories' Boreal Forest", said Larry Innes, CBI's Executive
Director. "This is a welcome follow up to the federal Budget investment in the
protected areas in the North and we look forward to celebrating other sites in
the coming months. "
    This announcement follows on the commitment made by Canada in January
2007 to permanently protect the entire South Nahanni Watershed and Nahanni
karstlands in an expanded national park.
    "Securing protection for special places like the Nahanni is part of what
Canadians want our governments to achieve", continued Innes. "Today's
announcement reinforces the importance that all parties place on balancing
conservation with economic development to protect and strengthen the North,
and we are proud to be actively supporting those goals."
    The work between governments, First Nations, conservation organizations,
and stakeholders to secure protection for a suite of important ecological and
cultural areas identified in the Northwest Territories Protected Areas
Strategy, national park proposals and regional land use plans is ongoing.
Protection is actively being sought for Ramparts River and wetlands (Ts'ude
niline Tu'eyeta) near Fort Good Hope, the Thaydene Nene/East Arm region of the
Great Slave Lake near Lutsel'ke, and for additional areas identified in the
draft Dehcho and Sahtu land use plans.

    Based in Ottawa, the Canadian Boreal Initiative is a convener bringing
together partners including governments, industry, First Nations, conservation
groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists to create new
solutions for the conservation and sustainable development of the Boreal

    A Backgrounder is attached



    The Nahanni National Park Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site protect
a portion of one of Canada's most spectacular boreal wilderness areas and
spiritual sites for local First Nations -- the South Nahanni watershed.
    The Nahanni National Park Reserve became the first site in the world to
be officially granted World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
    The South Nahanni Watershed falls within the traditional territories of
two Dene First Nations. The Dehcho First Nations' traditional territory
encompasses 80 percent of the watershed, while the upper 20 per cent lies in
the traditional territory of the Sahtu.
    The watershed is of cultural and traditional importance, and the Dehcho
First Nations, Sahtu Dene and Metis have expressed a strong desire to protect
the entire watershed of the South Nahanni River to protect the land and its
people for all time.
    Canada's north is besieged today by pressures to develop its energy and
mineral resources, such as the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, which means
conservation planning in the Northwest Territories is urgently needed.


    Canada's Boreal Forest, a vast complex of interconnected landscapes of
forest, wetlands, mountains, rivers and lakes is still largely ecologically
intact, and with the Amazon Rainforest and Siberian Taiga is one of the
largest intact natural regions remaining on earth. Its vegetation, waters and
soils represent one of the world's most important air purifiers, sources of
fresh water and buffers against climate change.


    The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework represents a new vision that
promotes a conservation approach for the entire Boreal Forest. The goal of the
Framework is to conserve the cultural, natural and sustainable economic values
of the entire Boreal by protecting at least 50% of the region in a network of
large interconnected protected areas, and supporting sustainable communities
through world-leading ecosystem-based resource management practices and
leading edge stewardship practices in the remaining landscape.
    Implementing this vision will position Canada as the world leader in
large-scale forest and wetlands conservation and management, through
collaborative, pro-active planning.

For further information:

For further information: Christine Choury, Director of Communications,
Canadian Boreal Initiative, (613) 230-4739, Ext. 222, C: (613) 355-6513;

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Canadian Boreal Initiative

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