Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the establishment and boundaries of Canada’s 44th national park, Nááts’ihch’oh (pronounced ‘Naats-each-choh’) National Park Reserve, in the Northwest Territories. The creation of this new park will ensure the protection of the South Nahanni River, one of the planet’s great wilderness rivers. The announcement was made during the Prime Minister’s seventh annual Northern Tour, taking place from August 20th to August 24th, 2012.
“The creation of this new national park reserve will further protect the rich natural wonders and cultural heritage of Canada’s sovereign North,” said Prime Minister Harper. “It will also generate employment for those living in the Northwest Territories, who will contribute to the stewardship and conservation of the park reserve’s lands and waters and educate visitors on the natural history and culture of the region.”
Prime Minister Harper also joined with the Sahtu Dene and Metis of the Tulita District in announcing the signing of an Impact and Benefit Plan that ensures they will have a significant role in the conservation and presentation of Canada’s newest national park. The lands and waters protected in Nááts’ihch’oh are places of spiritual and cultural importance to the Sahtu Dene and Metis. The Impact and Benefit Plan was negotiated in accordance with the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement.
By creating the Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve, the Harper Government is helping to ensure the protection of the spectacular South Nahanni River. This completes the federal government’s work in protecting the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem for future generations. In addition, this national park reserve will help protect grizzly bears, mountain woodland caribou and other wildlife, protect and celebrate the Nááts’ihch’oh Mountain as a deeply spiritual place, and offer opportunities for visitors to enjoy extraordinary wilderness experiences.
Since 2006, the Harper Government has expanded Nahanni National Park Reserve and created Sable Island National Park Reserve, Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site and Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.
With the addition of Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve, the Government of Canada now manages 44 national parks, with a total area almost half the size of Alberta, as well as 167 national historic sites and four national marine conservation areas.