Wapusk National Park of Canada
It’s Great to be Back ...
By Marilyn Peckett
Superintendent: Parks Canada, Manitoba Field Unit
© Parks Canada
It is my great pleasure to be writing to you this first time as the new Manitoba Field Unit Superintendent. In this role, I look forward to leading the team of dedicated Parks Canada staff who protect and present some of the most treasured places in Manitoba - seven National Historic Sites administered by Parks Canada and Wapusk National Park (NP).
Although I have been working in Alberta as the Superintendent of Elk Island National Park for the past five years, I am no stranger to Churchill. My first memorable experiences here are of studying northern natural resources and ecology at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in the 1990s. I was also able to get to know the region when I worked for Manitoba Conservation on the Protected Areas Initiative, a process that resulted in the creation of Caribou River Provincial Park. And, I was able to meet some of Churchill’s residents as well as visitors from around the world when I brought the Parks Canada exhibit promoting the recognition that “We are all Party to the Treaties” to the community in 2004.
With my return to Manitoba this past July, I was able to travel once again to Churchill. As part of my orientation, I had a helicopter fly-over of Wapusk NP where I was re-introduced to the beauty and fragility of this awe-inspiring landscape. I was able to reflect on the many logistical challenges of managing and inviting visitors to this northern wilderness national park, and on the potential rewards for visitors, area residents and park staff in this important endeavour.
Another highlight of my visit was celebrating Parks Day on July 17th. Such fun I had joining local Parks Canada staff in welcoming everyone to the Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site! I was impressed to see the progress that Parks Canada has made on the rehabilitation of this iconic site. As I watched children paint crafts and heard people excitedly talking about what they saw and learned while sharing a cookie (or two...), it was easy to see why Parks Day is truly a special event in the community!
The first camping trip for visitors to Wapusk NP was piloted this summer, and we are investing efforts to expand and improve a range of visitor opportunities designed to engage and inspire. The Parks Canada operations in northern Manitoba certainly have exciting times ahead and I am glad to be part of it. I invite you to be part of it too - we value your comments on our programs, ideas for new offerings and suggestions for improvements.
In closing, I’d like to say how wonderful it is to be back in my home province. I look forward to reconnecting with those of you I have already met and to making new acquaintances and greeting visitors when I next come to Churchill.