Wapusk National Park Management Board meets at Broad River

David Britton
Acting Superintendent, Wapusk National Park and Manitoba North National Historic Sites

Wapusk News - Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 2011

The Wapusk Management Board meeting at the Broad River Compound The Wapusk Management Board meeting at the Broad River Compound, clockwise from left Darryl Hedman (Province of Manitoba), Karyne Jolicoeur-Funk (Parks Canada), Nancy Spence (Parks Canada), Marlene Bilenduke (Town of Churchill), Sheldon Kowalchuk (Parks Canada), Lorraine Brandson (Town of Churchill), Dave Wotton (Federal Government), Darcy Wastesicoot (York Factory First Nation), David Britton (Parks Canada).
© Murray Gillespie

From August 11th to 13th this year, the Wapusk National Park Management Board met for the first time inside Wapusk National Park (NP). The Management Board was created when the park was established in 1996. Its purpose is to ensure that the communities and government jurisdictions that supported the creation of the park continue to have ongoing input into its management by providing advice to the minister responsible for Parks Canada. The Board is made up of representatives from the Town of Churchill, York Factory First Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation, the Province of Manitoba and the Federal Government.

The meeting took place at the Parks Canada multi-use fenced compound located on the banks of the Broad River, about six kilometres from the Hudson Bay coast in Wapusk NP. Built in 2010, the compound consists of a cabin and shed with a water/ wastewater facility, surrounded by a protective fence to keep the occupants secure from polar bears. The facility provides park staff and researchers with a safe base of operations while working in the national park. While use of the cabin facilities is reserved for park management purposes, the fenced compound offers new possibilities for safe camping for visitors to Wapusk NP. A similar compound was also built further south in the park, near the mouth of the Owl River.

This was the Board’s first opportunity to see the facilities at Broad River. Having them experience the multi-use compound first-hand was important because of its potential to offer new visitor opportunities and contribute to increased visitation to the park. The Board spent part of the meeting discussing possible future visitor activities such as canoeing, dogsledding and hiking. The Board also discussed the next steps in the process that will lead to the review of the Wapusk NP Management Plan during 2012 and received updates from Parks Canada staff on the research and visitor activities that took place in the park during the 2011 operating season.

While staying at Broad River, the Board was able to experience the land and its wildlife both on foot and by canoe. Highlights for the Board members included two fairly close observations of wolves near the compound, a couple of very distant polar bears and a very enjoyable hike from the compound towards the Hudson Bay coast that included observations of shorebirds and swans, fox and wolf dens and a polar bear day bed.

The Wapusk Management Board

Wapusk National Park is managed by a 10-member board made up of representatives of Canada, Manitoba, the Town of Churchill, York Factory First Nation and Fox Lake Cree Nation. The Board advises the Minister responsible for Parks Canada on the planning, management and operation of the park. The work of the Board reflects the philosophy, expressed in Wapusk’s Park Establishment Agreement, that people are Keepers of the Land.

The Broad River multi-use compound The Broad River multi-use compound
© Parks Canada