Parks Canada is working to add lands to several existing national parks, to improve their ecological integrity, and to enable them to better represent their natural regions. During this reporting period, work focused on three national parks: Nahanni and Tuktut Nogait in the Northwest Territories, and Waterton Lakes in Alberta.
Nahanni National Park Reserve Of Canada (Northwest Territories)
Parks Canada has been on record since 1987 as wanting to expand Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada to make it more representative of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region. A number of studies have confirmed the need to expand into three areas: the Tlogotsho Plateau, Ragged Range, and a karst region north of the first canyon.
The forum for these expansions is known as the Deh Cho Process. Starting in 1999, the Deh Cho First Nations and the Government of Canada began this process to settle the comprehensive land claim of the Dene people in the Northwest Territories. This comprehensive land claim includes most of Nahanni National Park Reserve.
In November 2001, at the invitation of the Deh Cho Process, Parks Canada tabled information on areas of high conservation value around Nahanni National Park Reserve for possible inclusion in the reserve. These areas, along with other proposed conservation lands and development zones are currently being reviewed by the Deh Cho Land Working Group for possible inclusion within an interim land withdrawal. All proposals are subject to stakeholder consultation.
Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada (NWT)
© Parks Canada / M. Beedell
Tuktut Nogait (Northwest Territories)
When Tuktut Nogait National Park of Canada was created in 1998 following agreement between Canada, Inuvialuit and the Government of the Northwest Territories, the job was only partially complete. Lands had been withdrawn in two other areas to properly represent the Tundra Hills Natural Region and to ensure the ecological integrity of the national park. One of these areas is within the Sahtu Settlement Area, immediately south of the park.
In 2001, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced that the federal government was prepared to negotiate with the Sahtu Dene and Métis regarding the addition of lands within their traditional territory to Tuktut Nogait National Park of Canada. Parks Canada immediately began negotiations with the Déline Land Corporation, on behalf of the Sahtu Dene and Métis, to complete the park in the Sahtu Settlement Area. Approximately 1,850 square kilometers would be added to the 16,340 square kilometres of the existing park, and the parties hope to reach agreement in the near future.
Hornaday Lake in Tuktut National Park of Canada (NWT)
© Parks Canada / D. Harvey
Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta)
Parks Canada is working with the Government of British Columbia to assess a proposal to protect a rugged landscape in the Flathead Valley in a national park reserve, immediately west of Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. Protection of this area would enhance the ecological integrity of the existing national park, and complete the missing corner of the International Peace Park. Should the provincial government react favourably to the proposal, and the First Nation agrees, negotiations of an agreement could commence.