Guidelines for Licensing of Guided River Outfitting in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves
January 2019

        RECORD OF REVISIONS

    28/01/2019

     Version 1.0 Management Team Original Version

 

Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves are the administrators of these guidelines. This document does not create any new authorities nor does it delegate any of the Superintendent’s authorities created under legislation. Where there may be a discrepancy with these guidelines and legislation, legislation will take precedence. These guidelines have been developed and may be administered in full cooperation with the Indigenous cooperative management partners at the park reserves. These guidelines may be reviewed and revised as necessary to meet emerging or unforeseen challenges. Any proposed revisions may be reviewed with affected and prospective users of the guidelines for clarity and functionality. Changes to this document will be logged in the table above. Minor revisions that do not require a change in interpretation or processes will increase incrementally by hundredths (e.g., version 1.01, version 1.02 etc.). Major revisions that involve a change in strategic actions or processes are designated with the next whole number (e.g., version 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 etc.).

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Essence of Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh
1.2 Ecological Integrity Statement
1.3 Historical Context of Licensing Guided River Outfitting
2.0 Scope
 2.1 Interpretation
3.0 Defining Appropriate Levels of Visitor Use
 3.1 Managing Visitor Experiences
 3.1.1 Nahʔą Dehé/Tehjeh Deé
 3.1.2 Nááts’įhch’oh Tué (Moose Ponds)
 3.1.3 Ǫtaa Tué Fehto (Divide Lake)
 3.1.4 Glacier Lake and the Cirque of the Unclimbables
 3.1.5 Gahnįhthah Mįe
 3.1.6 Nái̖li̖cho
 3.2 Indigenous Values and Perspectives
 3.2.1 Nahʔą Dehé Consensus Team
 3.2.2 Nááts’įhch’oh Management Committee
 3.3 Group Size, Thresholds & Spacing
 3.4 Quota for Issuance of Licences
4.0 Licensing Process for New Applications
 4.1 Notification
 4.1.1 Work Plan
 4.2 Indigenous Engagement Activities
 4.3 Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement
 4.4 Dehcho Process and Ongoing Land Claim Negotiations
 4.5 Best Management Practices
 4.6 Guidelines for Making a New Application
 4.7 Preliminary Screening
 4.8 Licensee in Good Standing
 4.8.1 Sale of a Business

List of Appendices
Appendix A: Model Terms and Conditions for Licences
Appendix B: Licensing Process for New Applications & Guidelines for Preparing an Application

1.0 Introduction

Nahanni National Park Reserve was established in 1976 and expanded in 2009 to 30,000km2. Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve was created in 2012 and legislated in 2014, it protects approximately 4895 km2 in the headwaters of the South Nahanni watershed. Together, Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh protect 86% of the South Nahanni Watershed. The South Nahanni River, called Nahʔą Dehé in the Dehcho and Tehjeh Deé in the Sahtu, has a long history of guided river outfitting. This is the first comprehensive set of guidelines for licensing guided river outfitting in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves.

These guidelines establish principles for Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves to follow in managing licences for guided river outfitting. In addition to meeting Parks Canada’s mandate, Parks Canada will honour the strong connections that river trips forge between visitors, the Dehcho and Sahtu peoples, and these parks.

1.1 Essence of Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh

Nahanni National Park Reserve (Nahʔą Dehé) is a UNESCO world heritage site globally renowned for its geologic landforms. An iconic northern wilderness, Nahʔą Dehé harbours sheer granite spires, vast alpine plateaus and at its heart is the South Nahanni River, a Canadian Heritage River. This great-spirit water thunders at Nái̖li̖cho (Virginia Falls) and meanders through some of the deepest canyons in Canada. Natural labyrinths of Nahanni Karst are among the most spectacular examples of this landform type known to humankind. The mineral spring cauldrons of Gahnįhthah form the largest tufa mounds in Canada. Gahnįhthah is a sacred site - home to the horizon walker Yamba Deja, who created Dene law. Far greater than the sum of its landforms, Nahanni is a cultural landscape. It is a place of deep and timeless significance. Visitors are welcomed to the land by the Dehcho First Nations, whose ancestors have called Nahʔą Dehé home for untold centuries. Climbers, hikers, paddlers and visitors of all kinds find personal inspiration and connection to this rugged land and its people. Nahanni is a Dehcho First Nations gift to be shared with Canada, and Canada’s gift to the world.

Nááts’įhch’oh is the ancestral homeland of the Shúhtaot’ine, the Mountain Dene, and Métis. The park is a place where culture and nature are intertwined, and traditions continue. The Sahtu Dene and Métis of the Tulita District and Parks Canada are entrusted to care for the land, water, wildlife and spiritually sacred places found within the park. Shúhtaot’ine stories, knowledge, and protocols guide and teach people. Where the South Nahanni River and its tributaries stretch high into the Mackenzie Mountains, the park protects them.

1.2 Ecological Integrity Statement

Nahanni National Park Reserve’s Ecological Integrity Statement incorporates input from elders, community leaders, government agencies and other interested groups. This is a synopsis of the Ecological Vision for Nahʔą Dehé, drafted from those inputs:

Nahʔą Dehé will protect a wilderness watershed in the Mackenzie Mountains where natural processes remain the dominant forces shaping the park’s ecosystem and where native biodiversity will be maintained. Traditional subsistence harvesting will continue to be an integral part of the ecosystem and will occur in accordance with Dene law and principles. Nahʔą Dehé will be a model of cooperative management with First Nations of the Deh Cho where ecological and cultural integrity is protected, visitor access and enjoyment is encouraged within the limits of ecological integrity and wilderness experience, and messages of natural and cultural heritage are communicated with excellence. Nahʔą Dehé will also promote excellence in the conduct of science and cooperative resource protection.

1.3 Historical Context of Licensing Guided River Outfitting

Parks Canada initiated business licensing of commercial river outfitters following the establishment of Nahanni National Park Reserve. However, guiding on the South Nahanni River predates park establishment. In the first Nahanni management plan (1987), Nahanni National Park Reserve did not restrict the number of commercial outfitters. Licences were limited in the Nahanni National Park Reserve Management Plan Amendments (1994). The amendments stated that Nahanni National Park Reserve would not exceed 4 licences, and one additional licence would be reserved for a qualified Dehcho business. The 2004 management plan also recognized the issuance of 4 licences plus one additional licence for a qualified Dehcho business. The 2010 management plan was also in line with the 4 plus one licence framework but it was open to increasing licences as a result of park expansion. The first management plan for Nááts’įhch’oh (2017) did not set a limit on number of licences, as visitation has been relatively low and there is room for growth.

All Nahanni management plans to date have shared the common conclusion that placing limitations on river use activities on the South Nahanni River is necessary to manage potential impacts to park resources, maintain the true wilderness character, balance commercial and non-commercial access and remain within the limits of existing infrastructure capacity. As parameters change or shift Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves may apply adaptive management with a precautionary approach to river use and licensing. However, limitations for commercial activities may continue for future planning purposes.

2.0 Scope

These guidelines provide clarity for commercial river outfitting in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves. Following implementation, the effectiveness of these guidelines and strategies may be monitored through ongoing consultations and stakeholder engagement. This document may be revised as and when required either by request of our Indigenous cooperative management partners, commitments outlined in the guidelines or if operational realities significantly change. Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves will engage with communities and stakeholders during any subsequent reviews or revisions of this document. The aim is to develop effective strategies for sustainable visitation in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves. It is important to note that applications will be processed with the full advice of our Dene and Métis partners.

Under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations, and in accordance with them, it is for a Superintendent at first instance to receive an application for a licence, decide what and how much information is necessary to consider the application, make a decision concerning the application, and decide on any terms and conditions in the licence. This document is a guide to a Superintendent but does not fetter a Superintendent’s discretion, authorities and responsibilities under the Regulations, and this document must be interpreted accordingly.

2.1 Interpretation

Act – means the Canada National Parks Act.
Advisory Committee – means the Committee that may be established to review and evaluate applications for a licence pursuant to a notification.
Business - means any trade, industry, employment, occupation, activity or special event carried on in a park for profit, gain, fund raising or commercial promotion, and includes an undertaking carried on in a park by a charitable organization, or by an organization or individual on a non-profit basis. National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations SOR/98-455.
Chief Executive Officer – means an officer appointed by the Governor in Council pursuant to the Parks Canada Agency Act. The Chief Executive Officer, under the direction of the Minister, has the control and management of the Agency and all matters connected with it.
Impact Benefit Plan – means the Impact and Benefit Plan (IBP) as it relates to Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve. It is a legally binding agreement made between the Government of Canada and the Sahtu Dene and Métis.
Dehcho and/or Sahtu Business –means a business that is:
(a) a sole proprietorship owned by a Dehcho or Tulita District Sahtu Dene or Métis member(s) or Tulita District Land Corporation; or
(b) an entity that is:

    (i) a corporation with 51 percent or more of the corporation’s voting shares beneficially owned by a Dehcho or Tulita District Sahtu Dene or Métis member(s) or Tulita District Land Corporation;
    (ii) a co-operative controlled by a Dehcho or Tulita District Sahtu Dene or Métis member(s) or Tulita District Land Corporation;
    (iii) a partnership that is 51 percent or more controlled by a Dehcho or Tulita District Sahtu Dene or Métis member(s) or Tulita District Land Corporation or by an entity described in subclause (i) or (ii); (iv) a not-for-profit organization controlled by a Dehcho or Tulita District Sahtu Dene or Métis member(s) or Tulita District Land Corporation; or
    (v) a joint venture or consortium in which a Dehcho or Tulita District Sahtu Dene or Métis member(s) or Tulita District Land Corporation have, or an entity described in subclause (i), (ii), (iii) or (iv) has, 51 percent or more ownership and control;

Licence - means a licence issued by the Superintendent pursuant to section 4.1, or issued or reinstated under subsection 10.1(2), as the case may be. National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations SOR/98-455.
Licensee - means the holder of a valid licence. National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations SOR/98-455.
Nááts’įhch’oh Management Committee - means the cooperative management board for Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve pursuant to the Impact Benefit Plan. Composition includes appointees from: the Tulita Renewable Resources Council, the Norman Wells Renewable Resources Council, and the Minister responsible for Parks Canada. One federal appointee is made in consultation with the Government of the Northwest Territories and one upon the recommendation of Dehcho First Nations.
Nahʔą Dehé Consensus Team – means the Indigenous cooperative management board for Nahanni National Park Reserve pursuant to the Interim Park Management Arrangement (2003). Composition includes representatives from: Parks Canada (2); Dehcho First Nations (2); Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band (2); and the Nááts’įhch’oh Management Committee (1).
Nái̖li̖cho Allocation – means the calendar day of arrival at Nái̖li̖cho. All groups will have a maximum two night stay at Nái̖li̖cho. The Superintendent of Nahanni National Park Reserve administers allocation.
Nái̖li̖cho Capacity - means the maximum amount of people (54) that the infrastructure at Nái̖li̖cho can accommodate for one night of camping, without unreasonably impacting heritage resources and visitor enjoyment.
Notification – means notification to the public that Nahanni and/or Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve(s) may review new applications for licence(s) to offer guided river outfitting services. Regulations – means the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations SOR/98-455 pursuant to the Canada National Parks Act.
Superintendent – means an officer appointed under the Parks Canada Agency Act S.C. 1998, c. 31 who holds the office of Superintendent of a park or of a national historic site of Canada to which the Canada National Parks Act S.C. 2000, c. 32 applies, and includes any person appointed under the Parks Canada Agency Act who is authorized by such an officer to act on the officer’s behalf.
Year - means the 12-month period beginning on April 1st in each year and ending on March 31st in the next year. National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations SOR/98-455.


1.0 Introduction

2.0 Scope

3.0 Defining Appropriate Levels of Visitor Use

4.0 Licensing Process for New Applications

Appendix A: Model Terms and Conditions for Licences

Appendix B: Licensing Process for New Applications & Guidelines for Preparing an Application