The province today announced the designation of two new provincial parks in the Boreal region as well as the designation or expansion of nine additional ecological reserves and one park.
Kinwow Bay and Sturgeon Bay provincial parks are situated on the west side of Lake Winnipeg north of Hecla and the existing Fisher bay Provincial Park. Proposed by Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation, CPAWS MB was proud to support this effort by ensuring hundreds of letters of support for the proposal were sent to the province.
Together the two parks secure over 23,000 ha. of Boreal lands from industrial developments while ensuring traditional practices can continue. The newly designated Pelican Islands Ecological Reserve near to these parks protects Lake Winnipeg’s largest colonies of American white pelicans and common terns.
Other new or expanded protected areas were concentrated in the southeast region of the province along the edge of the Boreal and include Cedar Bog, St. Anne Bog, St. Labre Bog, Lewis Bog, Woodridge and Piney Ecological Reserves as well as expansions of Moose Lake provincial park and Pembina Valley provincial park.
“The emphasis on peat rich wetlands and lands adjacent to Lake Winnipeg are incredibly important. In addition to providing habitat for wildlife like embattled moose populations, they are part of a crucial natural filtration system that helps to reduce nutrient overload in Lake Winnipeg.” says Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of CPAWS Manitoba.
Every new hectare of protected lands contributes to the province’s commitment to protect 17% of lands and inland waters by 2020. A number that CPAWS sees as a great milestone on a trajectory that; according to scientific opinion, should see a minimum of 50% protection of our lands and inland waters. This would allow them to continue providing life giving services to people and wildlife.
The protected areas strategy also identifies Indigenous communities as ’a cornerstone of the protected areas planning process’. To this Thiessen adds “I am looking forward to continued announcement of protected areas that embrace the Indigenous lead land use planning process and the Indigenous traditional land use designation to help us move toward a meaningful level of protection in collaboration with these communities’’.