For almost 20 years, the people of the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation have advocated for protection of their traditional lands in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Now these lands will be at the center of one of the country’s largest protected areas—covering over 2.6 million hectares (10,040 square miles).
The designation of the park, Thaidene Nene, was announced today by the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, Parks Canada, and the Government of the Northwest Territories. The Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation and Canadian government will co-manage the park with a goal of sustaining healthy lands and clean water that will contribute to boreal forest conservation efforts. Much of this will be accomplished by Indigenous Guardians, who incorporate traditional culture and western science into their land conservation plans.
The creation of Thaidene Nene is a nation-to-nation partnership that can serve as a conservation model throughout Canada while contributing to the protection of the boreal forest, which covers 270 million hectares (more than 1 million square miles) in Canada. The establishment of Thaidene Nene will bring the country closer to its commitment under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 17 percent of its lands by 2020. Here are some photos of the area:
Steve Ganey directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ work on marine conservation and fisheries.