The provincial government should permanently expand and protect the boundaries of an Interlake park reserve, say members of the Fisher River Cree Nation and environmental group leaders.
Chief Dave Crate of Fisher River Cree Nation said the Ochiwasahow (Fisher Bay) park reserve needs to be preserved for future generations.
The park reserve, located on the southwest basin of Lake Winnipeg, was established in 1999 and currently has protection from industrial development—such as logging and mining—until 2010. The area covers 89,000 hectares.
Crate said the area of protection should be expanded to 160,000 hectares. He said the creation of cottage lots and camping areas were under consideration to promote limited tourism, but that wilderness preservation is the key focus.
Currently, the area is used by First Nations’ people for hunting moose and deer, along with harvesting traditional medicines, he said.
Conservation Minister Stan Struthers said he and Crate would need to hold further discussions about the park reserve. After which, Struthers said, he would bring recommendations forward to cabinet regarding approval to secure permanent protection for the expanded park reserve.