Thank you to the elders and community of Deline for their vision and perseverance that resulted in the announcement a few days ago that two massive peninsulas on Great Bear Lake are now officially protected areas that will be co-managed by the community with Parks Canada. The two areas, called SaoyÃº (Grizzly Bear Mountain) and Ã†ehdacho (Scented Grass Hills), together total more than 1 million acres and have important sacred and cultural significance for the Sahtugotine people of Deline.
Not surprising these beautiful wild areas support an abundance of wildlife including caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, wolverine, moose, beaver and, yes, lots of cool birds. A report compiled from observations around 2000/2001 reported at least 85 bird species with the most abundant being Lesser Scaup, White-crowned Sparrow, Pacific Loon, American Robin, and Common Redpoll. There were also lots of interesting and intriguing sightings including Yellow-billed Loon, Horned and Red-necked Grebes, Long-tailed Duck (apparently some nesting), American Golden-Plover, Whimbrel, Parasitic and Long-tailed Jaeger, Long-eared Owl, Townsend’s Solitaire, Harris’s Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Smith’s Longspur.
Thank you Deline and Parks Canada and everyone else involved in making this dream a reality!
Here’s some photos from Deline and the area to give a sense of the place. (First photo credit is Howard Townsend, the rest are Jeff Wells)