In 1972, the original boundaries of Nahanni National Park Reserve were established to protect the famed canyons and waterfalls of the South Nahanni River from a proposed dam and reservoir. In early 2003, the Canadian government made an interim withdrawal of 23,000km2 from development, based in part upon Dr. John Weaver’s initial field survey of grizzly bears. However, this withdrawal order left out over 5,000km2 in five separate enclaves with mineral potential scattered across this huge watershed. In response to this, Dr. Weaver targeted his grizzly bear surveys on those five areas specifically to generate data to inform decision-making for the region. Dr. Weaver’s radio-tracking of woodland caribou clearly demonstrated the critical value of several of these areas for caribou as well. Weaver’s discovery of Dall’s sheep using karst caves also provided added impetus for protecting this unique area. Based upon his field research, Dr. Weaver recommended that Nahanni National Park Reserve be expanded to include the entire South Nahanni River watershed and the adjacent Nahanni Karstlands – an area greater than 38,000 km2. Click here.
In his recent (October 2007) Throne Speech, the Prime Minister of Canada noted the Government’s commitment to “massively” expand Nahanni National Park. Several prominent officials have indicated that Dr. Weaver’s research and recommendations clearly influenced that commitment. Expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve would make it one of the largest National Parks anywhere in the world and constitute a significant achievement for conservation in Canada. View Full report.
Photo credits: Banner | William Halliday © WCS Canada