YELLOWKNIFE, Canada – Canada’s national parks belong to all Canadians. They represent the very best that Canada has to offer and tell the stories of who we are, including the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced over $23 million for various projects at Parks Canada places in the Northwest Territories.
As part of Budget 2016, $21.6 million is being invested in Highway 5 to convert the existing gravel surface, along the last 64 kilometre portion of Highway 5, into a hard chip seal surface. As the only all season-road traversing Wood Buffalo National Park and connecting the communities of Fort Smith and Hay River, Northwest Territories, this investment will result in an improved level of service for this essential regional transportation corridor. The expected completion date for this project is spring 2018.
This is part of the government’s $191 million investment in Parks Canada to improve tourism and highway assets in several of its national parks during Budget 2016.
In addition, Parks Canada will be contributing $2.2 million in support to visitor services at Wood Buffalo National Park, including the revitalization of the trail network and the repairing of the docks and boardwalks at Pingo Canadian Landmark, which is located just outside Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, to enable more Canadians to experience these special Parks Canada places.
This is part of the $3 billion invested by Parks Canada over 5 years to support infrastructure work to heritage, visitor, waterway and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas across Canada.
Wood Buffalo National Park is one of only two of Parks Canada’s sites accessible by road in the North. Encouraging Canadians to visit remote national parks in the north offers a unique opportunity to share Indigenous traditions and customs, and creates new opportunities for learning and better understanding of Canada’s Indigenous cultures and history.
Investments in visitor infrastructure – such as trails, visitor centres and campgrounds, as well as highways, parkways and bridges – will ensure the quality and reliability of visitor facilities and continue to allow Canadians to connect with nature.
“The Government of Canada is proud to work with Indigenous groups at Parks Canada places in the Northwest Territories. Today’s investments will provide Canadians with more opportunities to learn about and experience the diverse cultures and landscapes of the north, help improve the quality of life of our middle class as well as support the economic development and tourism sector in local northern communities.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“Through these investments, the Government of Canada is protecting and preserving national treasured places like the Pingo Canadian Landmark, a unique Arctic ice-cored hills, to ensure safe access and make for better visitor experience.”`
Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories
• Parks Canada works with 11 local Indigenous groups to cooperatively manage Wood Buffalo National Park. Additionally, located just outside Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories in the Inuvialuits’ Settlement Region, the Pingo Canadian Landmark is managed cooperatively with the Inuvialuits and Parks Canada.
• Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest national park and protects an outstanding example of the northern boreal plains. It is the site of the last natural nesting habitat of the endangered whooping crane and is home to the world’s largest free-roaming herd of bison. Because of these important natural factors, the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
• The Pingo Canadian Landmark is the only site established under the Canadian Landmark program (1997). It protects a unique arctic landform: ice-cored hills called pingos – one of the most impressive landforms in permafrost environments. The Pingo Canadian Landmark protects 8 pingos, including Ibyuk, the world’s second tallest pingo (49 m in height and 300 m across).