Overview

Thaidene Nëné is a majestic and magical place including many important ecological and cultural features

Bald eagle with wings outstretched perches at the top of a tree
Bald eagles are an iconic species in the Thaidene Nëné area

Located at the eastern end of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories, the proposed Thaidene Nëné national park reserve is part of a larger group of proposed protected areas around the East Arm and Artillery Lake regions. Thaidene Nëné means ‘Land of the Ancestors’ in the Dënesųłiné—or Chipewyan—language. The Łutsël K'e Dene First Nation (ŁKDFN) consider Thaidene Nëné to be the ‘heart of the homeland’ as well as a sacred place. The Northwest Territory Métis Nation also has significant cultural ties to the area. Thaidene Nëné is a culturally rich area, including the traditional and present-day hunting, fishing, gathering and spiritual areas used by various Aboriginal peoples. Many local residents and visitors also use the Thaidene Nëné area for a variety of recreational activities.

Thaidene Nëné was first identified as a potential national park in the late 1960’s by the Canadian government. In 1970, a land withdrawal of approximately 7,340 km2 was applied to the area with no expiry date. At that time, Łutsël K’e Dene First Nation did not support the idea of a national park in their traditional territory so the proposal was put on hold. In 2000, Chief Felix Lockhart of (ŁKDFN) approached the Canadian government to renew discussions about establishing Thaidene Nëné as a national park to protect a portion of their traditional territory from development. In 2007, a further 26,350 km2 of land was withdrawn bringing the total study area to 33,690 km2. Then, in 2015, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) initiated work on developing a matrix of protected area designations and northern tools for the 33,600 km2 Thaidene Nëné land withdrawal area. Through a series of meetings with Parks Canada, GNWT, Łutsël K’e Dene First Nation, Northwest Territory Métis Nation and other Indigenous groups, it was agreed that a proposal for a national park reserve of 14,000 km2 would be part of that matrix.

Rocky cliff with trees at the edge of a lake, with Great Slave Lake behind
The Thaidene Nëné area is known for its dramatic landscapes, beautiful waters, and brilliant skies

Thaidene Nëné’s spectacular wilderness characteristics attract many visitors and local residents each year for experiences such as: boating, camping, fishing, berry picking and hiking in ‘the land of giants.’ There are numerous adventures just waiting to be had like: exploring Fort Reliance National Historic Site / Old Fort Reliance Territorial Historic Site at the mouth of the Lockhart River; hiking up to Tyrrell Falls and learning about the traditional village site known as Kaché with Łutsël K’e Dene First Nation’s Ni hat’ni Dene Watchers of the Land Program; boating through The Gap into Wildbread Bay; and fishing in Christie Bay, the deepest fresh water body in North America, home of huge lake trout.

The government of Canada is committed to expanding its system of protected areas and protecting Canada’s biodiversity. Canada has committed to conserve at least 17% of land and inland waters, and 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020 through a network of parks, protected and conserved areas, and other effective conservation measures. This network of protected areas will only be achieved through collaboration and the collective action of many communities, partners and stakeholders. That’s why, for the first time in over 25 years, federal, provincial and territorial governments have agreed to work together with local and Indigenous governments on expanding Canada’s protected and conserved areas. If established, the proposed Thaidene Nëné national park reserve will uniquely contribute to Parks Canada’s goal of representing each of the 39 terrestrial natural regions within Parks Canada’s National Parks System. The proposed Thaidene Nëné national park reserve, with its dramatic transition from the boreal forest of the Taiga Shield to above tree-line in the southern Arctic tundra, is an outstanding example of the Northwestern Boreal Uplands Natural Region of the national park system.

Explore this website to obtain information on the establishment and consultation process and learn more about what makes Thaidene Nëné special.