Great Canadian Parks / Northwest Territories

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The Parks / Northwest Territories / Tuktut Nogait National Park



 

The Inuvialuit people of Paulatuk, the nearest community, who recognized the ecological and cultural importance of the region, initiated the creation of the park. Tuktut Nogait falls under the agreement the federal government signed in 1984, The Western Arctic Claims Settlement Act, which gave land and benefits to the Inuvialuit, based on their traditional presence in the area. Talks between the territorial government, the people of Paulatuk and Ottawa began in 1989, spurred by the need to protect the caribou calving grounds. After years of planning and negotiation, an agreement to establish a park to protect the Tuktut Nogait, "caribou calves" in the Siglik dialect of Inuvialuktun, was signed. In the two years between the signing and the passing of the park legislation however, the preservation of the Bluenose caribou once more became an issue, this time in a conflict with mining interests in the Hornaday Valley. Environmentalists feared that the border agreed upon would be pushed eastward to reduce the park by 415 square kilometres allowing mineral development at the very heart of the caribou's calving grounds. About 20% of Darnley Bay, the area of dispute within the park boundaries, is rich in minerals and many feared the loss of mining jobs. In December 1998, after extensive consultation and debate, the Senate passed legislation to retain the original park boundaries. Following Ivvavik and Aulavik, it is the third national park to be established in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Parks Canada expects to expand the park 15 000 square kilometres into the northeast corner of the traditional territory of the Sahtu Dene and Metis, lands which include the headwaters of the Hornaday and the watershed of the Bluenose Lake - essentially the entire Tundra Hills Natural Region, which presently is under protection from development.

 

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