Winnipeg—After paddling 3,000 km since starting in April in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, solo canoeist Jay Morrison was greeted in Winnipeg today by Manitoba Conservation Minister Stan Struthers and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Manitoba chapter director Ron Thiessen at the banks of the Assiniboine River south of the Legislative Building for a short ceremony.
Morrison, a CPAWS national board member and former national triathlon team member, is stopping in Winnipeg to voice his support for CPAWS efforts to protect 82,000 km2 of boreal forest wilderness presently in a planning process on the east of Lake Winnipeg – an area larger than the size of New Brunswick. (see enclosed map)
After Morrison alit from his canoe, he and Thiessen presented Minister Struthers with a special canoe paddle inscribed “Protect Manitoba’s Big Wild – East Side Lake Winnipeg.”
As part of a nation-wide campaign to conserve Canada’s Boreal wilderness, CPAWS is calling on the Manitoba government to protect most of the east side of Lake Winnipeg in a network of large interconnected protected areas, with community driven lands management plans, and sustainable economic strategies that benefit the communities.
“We’re asking the Manitoba government to put boreal conservation and local communities first by living up to their promise to support community driven land-use planning. And it’s time for the Manitoba government to act on its commitments to a World Heritage Site by protecting large, intact boreal forest lands, as requested by local First Nations,” says Thiessen. “It’s essential that these actions are completed before any new industrial developments such as logging and mining.”
CPAWS also gave minister Struthers a copy of its latest educational report on the boreal landscape on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
Morrison arrived in Manitoba after paddling the challenging waters of the St Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, the north shore of Lake Superior, and down the Winnipeg River. He will be continuing his trip next year, with the intent of paddling a total of 8,000 km through Canada’s boreal wilderness to the Arctic Ocean.
“I was amazed by the spectacular wilderness beauty on the east side of Lake Winnipeg,” said Morrison. “A healthy future for Lake Winnipeg depends on protecting all the east side rivers that nourish the lake with their clean waters.”
The east side of Lake Winnipeg is in the heart of the Earth’s largest roadless and wild boreal forest region. The boreal forest is the world’s largest source of fresh water and is deemed the “northern lungs of the planet.” As the largest single land storehouse of carbon, it also plays an important role regulating global climate.
“With a quarter of the Earth’s remaining intact forests in Canada, it’s our responsibility to ensure big wild boreal places like the east side of Lake Winnipeg are protected, because they’re an essential part of the Earth’s life support system,” said Morrison.
CPAWS is a founding member of the Canadian Boreal Initiative’s Boreal Leadership Council, which promotes the conservation of Canada’s Boreal through a network of protected areas and best practices by industry.
CPAWS-Manitoba is part of a national organization with a network of 13 chapters, 20,000 members, over 50 staff and hundreds of committed volunteers. Since 1963 CPAWS has helped to conserve over 400,000 square kilometers of Canada’s most treasured wild places in parks and other protected areas.
Contact: Ron Thiessen, CPAWS-Manitoba, 204-453 6346 or 204-794 4971.
Manitoba government’s East side Planning webpage http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wno/
303 Portage Ave, R3B 2B4
Ph 204 949 0782
Fax 204 949 0783