Canada creates massive new park in the boreal

Jeremy Hance
February 09, 2010

Last Friday, the government of Canada and the governments of the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador signed a memorandum of understanding to create a the new Mealy Mountains National Park. Larger than Yellowstone National Park, the new Canadian park will span 11,000 square kilometers making it the largest protected area in Eastern Canada.

The park is home to woodland caribou, moose, black bear, osprey, bald eagles, brook trout, and a rare population of Harlequin ducks.

"As we enter into the International Year of Biodiversity, it is fitting that we are working to establish a national park to protect this spectacular boreal landscape for all time for all Canadians," said Canada’s Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, in announcing the creation of the park.

Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ahmed Djoghlaf, said "this decision, taken by the host country of the Convention’s Secretariat is of the greatest political significance and a befitting launch of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity," adding that "the creation of this new protected area is a firm foundation towards achieving the post-2010 biodiversity target, and the effective implementation of the Convention’s programs of work on protected areas and mountain biological diversity."

The park will allow traditional use for indigenous people living in the area, such as hunting, trapping, fishing, and chopping firewood for personal use. But no new developments will be allowed.

Conservationists were elated by the news. Many groups have been pushing for this designation since 2001.

"This announcement sets an important precedent for parks in Canada," said Larry Innes, director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative. "This is not a remote, off-limits park; this is a new approach to conservation, that incorporates traditional uses and celebrates Labrador's rich and diverse cultural heritage, while securing ecological values."

Plans are also in place to add a waterways park to Mealy Mountain National Park adding another 2,000 square kilometers to the protected area.

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Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (February 09, 2010).

Canada creates massive new park in the boreal.