Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve Becomes a Reality!

Photo: Alison Woodley

CPAWS-NWT is excited to share some great news from the shores of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories! Yesterday, August 21st, the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation (LKDFN) hosted a signing ceremony and celebration to commemorate the establishment of Thaidene Nëné Protected Area. We were so privileged to be in attendance at this memorable event and live-tweeted as things unfolded.

For over a decade, CPAWS has collaborated with partners in support of the LKDFN’s vision to protect Thaidene Nëné. “We are excited about the announcement formally establishing Thaidene Nëné – the Land of the Ancestors,” says Alison Ronson, CPAWS Interim National Executive Director. “CPAWS has worked for many years with the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation on protecting this important part of the Northwest Territories and we’d like to offer our congratulations to them, as well as to Parks Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories, on this occasion.”

Your contributions have powered our participation in the campaign and have bolstered the LKDFN’s efforts to secure a piece of their homeland within this unique protected area created in partnership with the Governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories. This couldn’t have been accomplished without your support!

Thaidene Nëné has pristine ecosystems including lakes, rivers, tundra and boreal forest, which provide habitat for caribou, bear, moose, muskoxen, wolves and fish. These ecosystems sustain the culture and livelihood of the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation and other Northern communities.

Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna with Chief Darryl Marlowe | Photo: Alison Woodley

The total area, encompassing 26,376 sq km, will be protected in a partnership between the Łutsël K’é Denesǫłine and the Governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada. The LKDFN will protect the entire Thaidene Nëné Indigenous Protected Area using its own Indigenous Law; Parks Canada will protect the 14,305 sq km core of Thaidene Nëné as a National Park Reserve using the Canada National Parks Act and the Government of the Northwest Territories will protect an abutting 12,071 sq km as territorial protected and conserved areas under the Territorial Protected Areas Act and the Wildlife Act.

CPAWS is proud to have supported this innovative approach to conservation in Canada. Co-management and governance of the area will occur through shared jurisdiction and consensus decision-making. At the event, Chief Darryl Marlowe stated, “I look forward to working in partnership to steward this incredible landscape and to showcase its incredible natural and cultural values for the benefit of our people, other Northern communities and all Canadians.”  

Thaidene Nëné will also provide economic diversification opportunities that are compatible with cultural and conservation values. Employment opportunities will include resource management, tourism services and the Ni hat’ni Dene Park Rangers, who will work alongside Parks Canada and NWT Parks staff. The Thaidene Nëné offices and visitor center will be situated in Łutsël K’é; guiding operations based in Łutsël K’é are already hosting clients. 

Thaidene Nëné contributes to Canada’s international commitments to protect 17% of land and inland waters by 2020, which holds national and global significance as we continue to push back against the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. Ronson adds, “Thaidene Nene will not only protect the traditional territory of the LKDFN but will support their community, provide habitat for wildlife, and safeguard this wonderful ecosystem for future generations.”

Visit the CPAWS NWT website for the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation press release and more information about the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve. For more information about Thaidene Nëné, visit the Land of the Ancestors website.