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Northwestern Boreal Uplands

Natural Region 17


This is a region rich in wildlife. Vast herds of caribou winter here in the spruce forests, some staying all year round. In late October, after the rutting season, the great bands of caribou mass up on the edge of the woods and spend the harshest winter months in the spruce and pine forests. The females start to work their way north again in February or March, bearing their young on the barren-grounds in June. By July, they are on the move again toward the forests.

The region has long been famous as a source of furs - beaver, muskrat, lynx, wolf, red fox, wolverine, martin, mink, otter. Moose and black bear are also abundant. Lake trout, whitefish and huge northern pike thrive in the cold, nutrient-poor lakes and rivers.


For more than 25 years, an area known as the East Arm of Great Slave Lake has been considered for a national park. In 1970, 7,150 square kilometres of land in this area were withdrawn under the Territorial Lands Act for national park purposes. This is a spectacular landscape - an immense archipelago of islands in Great Slave Lake, long fault-block escarpments, gorges and waterfalls, and much more.

Progress on this national park proposal has been stalled for some time. The Aboriginal people who will be most affected by the proposal are concerned about the effects of a national park on their traditional use of the land and on their lifestyle. There is no local consensus on whether a park would be appropriate.

The federal government has assured the people of Lutselk'e that a park will not be established without their agreement.

Parks Canada expects to resume discussion on this park proposal with the people of Lutselk'e at the appropriate time in their Treaty 8 land entitlement negotiations. The support of the Government of the Northwest Territories is also required.

Other possible representative natural areas include Conjuror Bay on Great Bear Lake and Athabasca North Shore.

   Natural Region 17
Natural Region 17

The following table summarizes the status of system planning for each step toward establishing a new national park in this natural region.

Steps in the Park Establishment Process
Representative Natural Areas Identified:
Potential Park Area Selected:
Park Feasibility Assessed:
Park Agreement Signed:
Scheduled under the National Parks Act:



National Parks System Plan, 3 rd Edition

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