Robert Löken
Acting Superintendent
Wapusk National Park and Manitoba North National Historic Sites

Wapusk News - Issue 8, 2015

Robert Löken Robert Löken
© Parks Canada

It is my great pleasure to be writing to you this first time as the Acting Superintendent of Wapusk National Park (NP) and Manitoba North National Historic Sites. In late September of 2014 I was thrilled to accept this opportunity to live and work in Churchill. I arrived in October and since my arrival, I have had nothing but positive experiences. It took a few weeks to get myself up to speed on the files that I now lead, but by January, I was truly immersed into the work at hand.

On behalf of Parks Canada and the Wapusk Management Board, I am happy to share with you the following update:

The Wapusk Management Board welcomes a new member, Jan Collins, representing the Government of Canada. Jan brings his extensive experience as Tourism Development Consultant for the Manitoba government to the board. The appointment of a new federal government representative means that John Williams’ three year term on the board has come to an end. I take this opportunity to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the Wapusk Management Board. I am looking forward to working with all of the board members on the future of Wapusk NP.

Management plans set the direction for national parks and national historic sites for a ten-year period. Two Parks Canada places in northern Manitoba are now in line for a management plan review. York Factory National Historic Site (NHS) management planning is currently underway. Consultations with First Nations, partners and stakeholders on the future of this site are a key aspect of the process. Wapusk NP is also entering the preliminary stages of management planning. Although consultations are not scheduled to begin until 2016, it is now time to establish the scope of work to be completed.

New visitor activities are an important component in enabling Parks Canada to connect with Canadians and to the public at large. Parks Canada has recently convened a working group to develop unique experiences only available in the North, to be promoted under the banner of Northern Iconic Experiences. The Parks Canada Northern Iconic Experience for Wapusk NP is a five-day visit that includes overnight stays at York Factory NHS, Wapusk NP and at Prince of Wales Fort NHS. During this trip, visitors will experience unique interpretation programs with First Nations storytellers at York Factory, wildlife viewing while hiking in Wapusk NP, and sleeping in prospector tents at Prince of Wales Fort.

Research is also a big part of the work done by Parks Canada and its partners. Wapusk NP ecologist, Chantal Ouimet, has completed and presented a new ecological integrity monitoring plan for the park. This plan lays out the foundation for monitoring and research for the next ten years in order to build upon the understanding of the different ecosystems that make up Wapusk NP. This plan will also help us build on an already positive relationship with our research partners. These are but a few of the initiatives in place for this year. There are far too many to be able to list them all here so if you are interested in learning more about what we are doing, please know that I am always interested in your comments on our programs, ideas for new offerings, or suggested improvements. I can be reached at 204-675-8863 or robert.loken@pc.gc.ca.