Broadback River Watershed
Credit: Steven Blacksmith
One of the areas in the Boreal Forest that we have been highlighting for years is the Broadback River Watershed within Eeyou Istchee of the Grand Council of the Crees territory in Quebec. The Broadback is one of the still free-flowing rivers in the region that has also not seen its flow diverted away in the name of hydropower as has been the case in some rivers in the region. The area is the traditional territory of a number of Cree communities who have long advocated for protections to ensure that the forests and waters, and the mammals, birds, and fish that live in them, remain healthy.
In the summer of 2015 an agreement was announced between the Grand Council of the Crees and the Government of Quebec that formalized protection for 2.25 million acres of the region—larger than Yellowstone National Park—an area that supports millions of nesting birds. But some very important lands in the southern part of the watershed that the community of Waswanipi has advocated for protecting were left out of the deal. The people of Waswanipi continue to work with their partners to eventually see these lands protected as well. Below is a gallery of some photos taken in the Broadback River Watershed by photographer Steven Blacksmith that give a sense of the beauty of this magnificent region.