Gerrard endorses Fisher River Cree Nation Provincial Park Proposal

June 16, 2008

Winnipeg -Manitoba Liberal Leader Dr. Jon Gerrard today met with Chief David Crate of the Fisher River Cree Nation (FRCN) and endorsed their proposal for the Fisher Bay Provincial Park. Gerrard called on the government to respect the wishes of the First Nation and create a provincial park according to the findings of their in depth ecological significance study.

“Eco-tourism is an untapped revenue source in Manitoba and this is a fantastic opportunity to highlight all the great things that Manitoba’s Interlake region has to offer,” Dr. Gerrard said. “The expanded boundaries also protect and preserve First Nation’s traditional ties to the land.”

The proposed FRCN boundaries would encompass an area of 160,000 hectares, nearly doubling the designated government boundaries of 89,000 hectares and helping to preserve two inadequately protected natural regions according to the province’s Protected Areas Initiative.

“Securing the area in its natural state will ensure that traditional activities can continue and will allow us to build our local economy with eco- and cultural tourism ventures,” said the FRCN Chief David Crate. “It’s a good way to make sure our treaty rights are upheld and abundant wildlife populations remain strong.”

FRCN conducted an in-depth environmental assessment of the area and found that the new expanded boundary proposal provides the best marriage of both cultural and environmental protection for the area.

“We are asking the Manitoba government to take immediate action to establish a new park according to the specifications requested by FRCN,” said Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of Canadian Parks and Wildness Society – Manitoba Chapter. “The government’s action will be a huge step toward a healthy and sustainable future for Manitobans, Canadians, and the Earth.”

Located on the south-west basin of Lake Winnipeg, the Ochiwasahow (Fisher Bay) Provincial Park proposal is First Nations traditional territory and home to wildlife such as bears, moose, fox, eagles as well as a variety of songbirds. The picturesque area is blessed with treed shorelines, long sandy beaches, large islands covered with old-growth forests, reefs, and the water of the Bay.

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