Northern National Parks: Models from Across Canada

  • Published on May 12 2015 |
  • This article is tagged as: thaidenenene

Thaidene Nene is currently being conceived of as a combination of National Park Reserve and territorial protection. There have been assurances from the GNWT and the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation that all NWT residents will be able to continue to use and access Thaidene Nene.  When a new national park is proposed, residents often wonder whether the designation will limit their on-going use and enjoyment of the area.  In recent years, northern national parks have typically been established in a way that enables continued land use and renewable resource harvesting by non-aboriginal residents while protecting its ecological and cultural values.

We anticipate that Thaidene Nene will follow this approach, ensuring that residents’ interests are taken into consideration in the establishment of the park. For aboriginal residents, the practice of aboriginal rights is guaranteed; for non-aboriginal residents, we anticipate activities consistent with the northern lifestyle will be allowed to continue.

The examples below illustrate the flexibility that is possible under the Canada National Parks Act, while still providing the strongest protection for the land, water, and wildlife of Thaidene Nene.

Activity National Park Example
Land use and renewable resource harvesting by non-aboriginal residents

Wapusk, Manitoba: local users who lived in the area in the lead up to park establishment - and their children - can continue renewable resource harvesting and cabin building (with a local use permit).
Mealy Mountains, Labrador (in final stages of establishment): Parks Canada and Government of Newfoundland and Labrador have committed that residents of surrounding communities can continue traditional land uses indefinitely in a sustainable way, as an expression of established practices and the Labrador lifestyle, including snowmobiling to access existing cabins and traditional use areas, fishing, medicinal herb and berry harvesting, domestic wood harvest and campfires, carrying firearms for personal safety, trapping and snaring, and hunting birds and small game. This arrangement will be written into the park establishment agreement and managed by regulation under the National Parks Act.

Hunting and trapping by non-aboriginal residents

Wapusk, Manitoba: local users allowed (must hold appropriate park and provincial permits).
Mealy Mountains, Labrador: harvesting small game, trapping and snaring included in list of ‘traditional land uses permitted to continue’.

Fishing by non-aboriginal residents

All national parks: recreational fishing by permit.
Mealy Mountains, Labrador: fishing and ice fishing included in list of of ‘traditional land uses permitted to continue’.

Aircraft access

Auyuittuq, NU: aircraft permitted to land in any location.
Tuktut Nogait, NT: aircraft permitted to land in any location.
Vuntut, YT: aircraft permitted to land in any location.
Sirmilik, NU: aircraft permitted to land in any location.
Wapusk, Manitoba: aircraft permitted to land in any location.

Collecting firewood

Wapusk, Manitoba: firewood collection included in list of ‘traditional renewable resource harvesting activities’ for which local users can obtain a permit.
Mealy Mountains, Labrador: domestic wood cutting included in list of of ‘traditional land uses permitted to continue’.

Carrying firearms

Wapusk, Manitoba: residents may apply for a local use permit to carry firearms for hunting.
Mealy Mountains, Labrador: carrying firearms for personal safety and lifestyle included in list of of ‘traditional land uses permitted to continue’.
Mingan Archipelago, QC: firearms permitted for duck hunting.
• Parks Canada is working to update its Wildlife Regulations to allow certain categories of park users, like guides and bear monitors, to obtain a permit to carry guns for self defense in northern parks with polar bears.

Domestic Animals (dogs)

• In general dogs are allowed in national parks if they are on a leash and as long as they don’t disturb people or wildlife.
• Exceptions to the “on-leash” requirement exist for search and rescue dogs.
Wapusk, Manitoba: dogs used to protect and defend from polar bears and sled dogs are permitted.

Berry picking

Wapusk, Manitoba: included in list of ‘traditional renewable resource harvesting activities’ for which local users can obtain a permit.
Mealy Mountains, Labrador: included in list of ‘traditional land uses permitted to continue’.

View the pdf version of this document here.