Canadian Boreal Initiative Applauds Protection Around NWT’s Great Bear Lake

Grizzly Bear Mountain
Image by SamWebsyntax via Flickr

The Canadian Boreal Initiative joined its partners in congratulating the Government of Canada and the Sahtu Dene community of Déline for permanently protecting Saoyú -?ehdacho, also known as Grizzly Bear Mountain and Scented Grass Hills.

The April 14 announcement by Environment Minister Jim Prentice fulfills a First Nation community-driven vision to designate Saoyú – ?ehdacho as a permanently protected National Historic Site within Canada’s Boreal region.

Saoyú (saw-you-eh) and ?ehdacho (aa-daa-cho) are two major peninsulas on the west side of Great Bear Lake that total 5,550 km² in size. Great Bear Lake is the ninth largest freshwater lake in the world. These peninsulas will protect Boreal habitat for several important wildlife species including caribou, grizzly bears, wolverines, and peregrine falcons. This area has also high spiritual and cultural significance for the Sahtu Dene, and is a prime fishing destination.

This is a significant milestone, as it is the first site to be permanently protected through the NWT Protected Areas Strategy. “This is a tremendous achievement. We salute the people of Dél?ne who in partnership with the federal government have worked together for over a decade to protect these sites,” stated Larry Innes, Executive Director of CBI. “We look forward to other milestones in the months ahead and to continuing to support all partners involved in realizing the goals of the NWT Protected Areas Strategy.”

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