First “State of the Park Report” Underway for Wapusk National Park

Sheldon Kowalchuk
Resource Conservation Manager:
Wapusk National Park & Manitoba North National Historic Sites

Wapusk National Park is part of a nation-wide family of protected areas managed by Parks Canada. Every national park in this family is required to have a management plan which helps to involve and inform Canadians about how Parks Canada will protect and present the park. These management plans are reviewed every five years and are updated when needed to address important issues. The Wapusk National Park Management Plan was approved in October, 2007.

A key step in the management planning cycle is the State of the Park Report (SOPR). The SOPR is a “snapshot” of the state of the various components of park, and is used to report to the public and stakeholders about the park’s achievements of the expectations set out in the management plan. There are sections on the state of ecological integrity, cultural resources, visitor experience and public appreciation and understanding. Wapusk’s SOPR is in preparation now, approximately two years ahead of the upcoming review of its park management plan.

The Wapusk Management Board is leading the development of the SOPR. This Board is made up of two representatives from each of the following: York Factory First Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation, Town of Churchill, Canada and Manitoba.

Wapusk Management Board members are actively involved in gathering information and reviewing sections of the SOPR, as well as conducting a survey of local residents. Interviews with Aboriginal people from York Factory First Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation and Churchill will be incorporated into the SOPR in order to include their perspectives on a number of key areas and results. Traditional local park users, as defined in the 1996 Park Establishment Agreement for Wapusk National Park, will also be surveyed by Parks Canada staff and Wapusk Management Board members.

The Wapusk Management Board will review the draft SOPR and ultimately recommend the report for final approval by Parks Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. Scheduled to be completed in 2011, this will be the first SOPR for Wapusk and will serve as baseline for future reports. When this has been done, we will look ahead to the review of the current management plan which is only a couple of years away!

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