Another day, another good looking day for conservation in Canada.
Yesterday, the Canadian government introduced legislation that will expand the Nahanni National Park Reserve from its original 5,000 square kilometer boundary to a whopping 30,000 square kilometers (7.4 million acres) - an area more than 8 times the size of Long Island and nearly half the size of Maine. It was recognized as the first World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1978.
The mountains, valleys, and rivers that flow through it are some of the most scenic and spectacular landscapes in the world. The canyons surrounding the southern part of the Nahanni River are as deep as the Grand Canyon, and it is considered to be one of the best canoeing rivers in North America. It’s largest waterfall, the awe-inspiring Virginia Falls, is twice as high as Niagara Falls.
The announcement came after years of negotiations and hard work at many different levels, including the Canadian Federal Government, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Dehcho First Nations, and environmental groups like the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI), Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), and others.
It is a particularly inspiring day for the Dehcho First Nations, who worked with government officials endlessly to protect some of their most sacred traditional land. It is not uncommon for First Nations and government to clash over land-usage and rights, so when a collaboration like this happens, you know something special just happened.
While somewhat expensive to get there, I encourage any of you to visit the Nahanni National Park Reserve and many of the surrounding areas in the Northwest Territories – there are tremendous birding opportunities there as well as an impressive quantity of wildlife.
I’ve posted some more pictures from the Park below to give you a sense of the awe-inspiring beautyâ€¦once again, congratulations to everyone who worked on this so hard for so long.