July 30, 2008

Ontario and Manitoba will develop a unique new way for provinces to co-operate both on conserving valuable natural habitat and ensuring proper recreation use into the future with the establishment of Canada’s first interprovincial wilderness area, Manitoba Conservation Minister Stan Struthers and Ontario Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield announced today.

Manitoba also released the management plan for Atikaki Provincial Park and
the Bloodvein Canadian Heritage River, which is a key contribution toward
land-use planning required as part of the work underway for the UNESCO World
Heritage Site nomination, said Struthers.

“In addition to marking another milestone in our march toward a World
Heritage Site designation for the pristine boreal forest on the east side of
Lake Winnipeg and northwest Ontario, this interprovincial wilderness area is
a unique approach that recognizes that neither wildlife habitat, ecosystems
migration patterns nor protected areas should be restricted by provincial
borders,” he said.

“By partnering with Manitoba to create a protected Interprovincial
Wilderness Area, Ontario is building on our efforts to protect the Far North
boreal region," said Cansfield. "With Manitoba, we will work with nearby
First Nations, the Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Project and other local
communities to enhance the conservation of this remarkable area.”

This new wilderness area lies along both provincial borders and covers more
than 9,400 square kilometres. The protected area includes Woodland Caribou
Provincial Park and the Eagle-Snowshoe Conservation Reserve in Ontario and
Atikaki Provincial Park and parts of Nopiming Provincial Park in Manitoba.

The ministers said Manitoba and Ontario are committed to working together
with the primary areas of co-operation being joint resource management,
research projects, marketing and developing recreational opportunities.
They said this new partnership will lead to significant developments that

  • laying the groundwork for the creation of a UNESCO world heritage
    site that would put the forest in the same standing with a list of
    well-known sites such as the Pyramids of Giza, Great Barrier Reef, Taj Mahal
    and Grand Canyon;
  • protecting threatened wildlife and valuable ecosystems on a
    broader scale that takes into account issues such as habitat management and
    wildlife migration patterns which aren’t encumbered by existing provincial
    borders; and
  • ensuring Ontarians and Manitobans continue to enjoy these unique,
    wild areas by maintaining and enhancing tourism and recreation opportunities
    in a co-operative, strategic way.

The Interprovincial Wilderness Area is of national ecological importance and
provides an important link between the eastern and western boreal forests.
It also represents significant habitat for species at risk such as Canada’s
woodland caribou. It also contains many world-class canoe routes including
the Bloodvein, Pigeon and Bird rivers.

A map of the area, background document and copy of the memorandum of
understanding that is being signed is available at

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