Thaidene Nene was first identified as a potential national park in the late 1960’s by the Canadian government. In 1970, a land withdrawal of approximately 7,340 km2 was applied to the area with no expiry date. At that time, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation did not support the idea of a national park in their traditional territory so the proposal was put on hold.

In 2000, Chief Felix Lockhart of Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation approached the Canadian government to renew discussions about establishing Thaidene Nene as a national park to protect a portion of their traditional territory from development. In 2007, a further 26,350 km2 of land was withdrawn bringing the total study area to 33,690 km2. Following the devolution of land and resources to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) in 2014, work was initiated on developing a matrix of protected area designations and northern tools for the 33,600 km2 Thaidene Nene land withdrawal area.

Through a series of meetings with Parks Canada, GNWT, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation, Northwest Territory Métis Nation and other Indigenous groups, it was agreed that a proposal for a national park reserve of 14,000 km2 would be part of the Thaidene Nene protected areas complex.

Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve was created in August 2019.

Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve, with its dramatic transition from the boreal forest of the Taiga Shield to above tree-line in the southern Arctic tundra, is an outstanding example of the Northwestern Boreal Uplands Natural Region of the national park system.