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Public Hearnings to Expand Nahanni National Park Reserve

by admin ~ November 12th, 2006

Proposals to expand Nahanni National Park Reserve, and protect the watershed from additional impact from Zinc and Tungsten mines, has resulted in hearings from Parks Canada, letters from environmental groups and wilderness advocates, and expanded land claims and self-government negotiations from First Nations communities. The Nahanni Reserve was created in 1972 to protect the popular wilderness canoeing river from hydroelectric development, but the current boundaries leave out vital wildlife habitat, most of the watershed, and nearby areas under development from recent mining and oil and gas activity. The Nahanni basin is rich in zinc reserves, and has seen renewed interest from mining companies with a surge in metal prices. Parks Canada and Dehcho First Nations have pushed for expansion of the National Park boundaries for many years, and the issue is currently being developed through the Dehcho Process and the Nahanni Expansion Working Group. Parks Canada is holding hearings throughout the Summer and Fall of ’06, and CPAWS has launched a petition and letter writing campaign to encourage input from the public. With UNESCO citing major concerns about the well-being of the Park and the influx of recent “mining, mineral, oil and gas exploration activities,” the issue of Park expansion appears to be gaining traction at both a local and international level. The feasibility study of the Working Group is due in the Fall of 2007.

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