New Atlas Promotes Sustainable Development in the Riding Mountain Region

December 4, 2001

Citizens, landowners, educators, conservation organizations, First Nations, and government agencies in the Riding Mountain region have a new resource and education tool to work with—the Riding Mountain Ecosystem Community Atlas.

This shared information provides common ground for everyone interested in issues affecting the Riding Mountain region and can contribute to decisions that will benefit people, wildlife and the community.

Riding Mountain Ecosystem Community Atlas

The atlas will be launched on Tuesday, March 15th at a lunch hour gathering at the Rossburn Community Hall. Guest speakers include Greg Fenton, Superintendent, Riding Mountain National Park of Canada; Jim Duncan, Manager, Biodiversity Conservation Section, Manitoba Conservation; Ray Frey, Reeve, RM of Park South; and Krista Scott, Executive Director, Manitoba Chapter, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS Manitoba).

“The natural ecosystem provides many benefits to the Riding Mountain region,” says Krista Scott of CPAWS Manitoba. “But what will the region look like a few generations from now? This atlas will help communities decide what that answer should be.”

The Riding Mountain Ecosystem Community Atlas focuses on a 13,810 square kilometre region that forms the boundaries of the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve. The biosphere reserve includes the National Park and the 15 rural municipalities that surround the park, including: Grandview, Gilbert Plains, Dauphin, Ochre River, Ste. Rose, McCreary, Rosedale, Clanwilliam, Park South, Harrison, Strathclair, Shoal Lake, Rossburn, Silver Creek, and Shellmouth-Boulton.

The atlas opens with an introduction to the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve and to the concept of the “greater park ecosystem” of Riding Mountain National Park. (The greater park ecosystem is the landscape around a park that influences the wildlife and ecological systems inside the park.) The physical components of the Riding Mountain ecosystem are then discussed, including glacial history, climate, topography and geology, soils, water issues and ecologically distinct areas, along with the flora and fauna of the region. The atlas also includes an overview of the human history of the region and the changing landscape, including the impacts of habitat fragmentation, fire and climate change. It concludes by looking at different approaches to ecosystem management and what the future might hold for the Riding Mountain ecosystem. Full colour maps, photos, tables and text are used to present practical, science-based information.

Community involvement was as important as mapping technology in the two-year effort to develop this atlas, which involved local individuals, groups, First Nations, and government agencies. The Riding Mountain Ecosystem Community Atlas was created by CPAWS Manitoba in partnership with Riding Mountain National Park, Parks Canada and with valuable assistance from the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve Management Committee.

The atlas will be distributed to schools, rural municipalities, conservation districts, and libraries in the Riding Mountain region.

The Riding Mountain Ecosystem Community Atlas is available as a printed book (11×17, full colour, 92 pp) for $75 or as PDF files on CD ($5) through CPAWS Manitoba at (204) 949-0782 or email: [email protected].

This atlas is part of a national project of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). Atlases are also being published on the greater park ecosystems of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in British Columbia, and Bruce Peninsula National Park and St. Lawrence Islands National Park in Ontario. CPAWS gratefully acknowledges the significant contributions of many project partners across Canada, as well as the financial support from the Government of Canada’s Voluntary Sector Initiative, through the Parks Canada Agency, and the in-kind support of ESRI Canada.

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