Wapusk News - Issue 8, 2015

The Wapusk Management Board was established in 1996 to consider matters relating to the planning, management and operation of Wapusk National Park (NP), and to make recommendations on these matters to Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada. Since the board was established, it has helped, with its advice to Parks Canada, to set the direction for one of the world’s most unique places. The past year is no exception, as the board has been very active over the past few months.

Each year, the Wapusk Management Board meets to discuss the status of research applications for the park. This involves a review of the research applications to ensure that they meet the research priorities established for the park. For the 2014-15 season, five research permits were issued by the Superintendent following the recommendations of the board. The permit review is now complete and the management board has submitted recommendations for four permits for the 2015-16 season. The board has also been very interested in the proposal by the Province of Manitoba to establish a provincial park that would border Wapusk NP.

Other topics that the board discussed over the past year include:

  • trap lines within the park
  • contribution agreements for research
  • Aboriginal and local traditional knowledge
  • new visitor experience opportunities
  • polar bear management

The board will soon be turning its attention to the Wapusk NP management plan. This plan sets out the direction for the park for a ten year period. The formal planning process will begin in 2016 and the board will be advising the Superintendent on its expectations for the future of the park.

The Wapusk Management Board is taking this opportunity to thank a member for his hard work and dedication to Wapusk NP and to welcome a new colleague. John T. Williams has completed his three-year appointment as the Government of Canada representative to the board, during which time his knowledge and experience helped shape the advice of the board. His insights relating to wildlife conservation and management have been instrumental in helping to set park priorities. Thank you, John.

The board is pleased to welcome Jan Collins who has been appointed by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister for Parks Canada, as the new representative of the federal government on the Wapusk Management Board. Jan’s experience with the Province of Manitoba as Tourism Development Consultant responsible for the development of resource-based tourism product across Manitoba provides him with a thorough understanding of the tourism industry as it relates to natural environment. We look forward to working with Jan on the future of the park.

The ten member Wapusk Management Board is made up of representatives of the Government of Canada; Province of Manitoba; Town of Churchill; Fox Lake Cree Nation; and York Factory First Nation. The work of the board reflects the philosophy, expressed in the Wapusk Park Establishment Agreement, that people are Keepers of the Land.