Media Releases - 2011
Creation of the Assinica National Park Reserve: the first test for the Plan Nord
Montréal, May 17, 2011 – The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) welcomes today’s announcement, made at Oujé-Bougoumou, of the creation of Assinica National Park Reserve on Cree territory. The Government of Québec should continue conservation planning in this region by considering other proposals submitted to government by Cree communities and the Cree Regional Authority.
The creation of the Assinica National Park Reserve concludes a long series of negotiations that began in 2002 as part of the Paix des Braves agreement. CBI welcomes this boreal park on First Nations’ territory. The land use planning should be done under the leadership of First Nations, rather than handled on a case-by-case basis. This is an essential condition for achieving the conservation goals set out in the Plan Nord.
“If, as laid out in the Plan Nord last week, it is essential that the implementation of the Plan Nord satisfies the Aboriginal peoples’ concerns, the government will have the opportunity to demonstrate the true extent of its plan by positively responding to all of the protected areas proposed by the Cree and by initiating the environmental planning and integrated management of the whole territory in partnership with the Cree,” stresses Suzann Méthot, CBI’s Regional Director of Québec.
CBI recognizes that the announcement of a future agreement respecting, among others, Cree management of the park and the inclusion of other areas in an eventual expansion of the park is significant for two reasons: the respect for Cree leadership on the land, and the implementation of environmental planning in the region.
The inclusion of all of the proposals made by the Cree would make it possible to protect Broadback River, Evans Lake, and the last intact forests in the region, as well as the woodland caribou. This vulnerable species needs an extensive network of protected areas covering about 10,000 km2; the 3,193 km2 announced today would not be nearly enough. Furthermore, Broadback River provides an opportunity to protect one of the last great undammed rivers of the Eeyou Istchee, a territory that has already been heavily affected by major hydroelectric developments.
About the Canadian Boreal Initiative
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