Horses in winter: this group of was seen during a Wood Buffalo National Park bison survey in 2016. Environmentalists are hopeful Ottawa will follow through with the needed funding to support the federal action plan released last Friday to save the park, the world's second largest. (JD McKinnon/Parks Canada)

The saga to save Wood Buffalo National Park continues

What the future holds the Wood Buffalo National Park, a national treasure that straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories border, is still anyone’s guess.

It is the largest national park in Canada and the second largest in the world (trailing only Northeast Greenland National Park),

First Nations have depended on the area for cultural, spiritual and physical sustenance for generations.

It is is the only breeding grounds in the world for endangered whooping cranes.

The largest herd of free-ranging buffalo makes its home at the park. 

Wood Buffalo National Park last year. (Lennard Plantz/CBC)

But it’s been in trouble for more than a few years now–fighting the ill-effects of climate change and industrialization in the region.

A report last summer concluded that 15 of the 17 measures of the park’s ecological health were declining.

So bad is the trouble that its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is on the line.

UNESCO gave Ottawa until last Friday to come up with a workable action plan to stave off the park being designated as “in danger” due to poor management practices.

Last Friday, deadline day, the federal government submitted a 96-page plan that it hoped would be an improvement on a plan submitted last November that underwhelmed environmentalists.

Among other things, the latest Parks Canada plan calls for increased staffing, better monitoring of oilsands talings and artificially recreating spring flooding to rejuvenate the park’s waterways.

The question most environmentalists are asking is will Ottawa put its money where its mouth is.

At first glance, it appears not.

Bison swim in Wood Buffalo National Park. The largest herd of free-ranging buffalo make its home at the park. (Mikisew Cree First Nation/ Submitted)

Last year’s federal budget included a $1.3 billion, five-year investment in national parks with $27.5 million set aside for Wood Buffalo.

But Ottawa says there will be more, including money from a $50-million oilsands monitoring fund.

We’ll see.

Last week we spoke with Gillian Chow-Fraser, Boreal Program Manager at the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s northern Alberta chapter.

She was cautiously optimistic that Ottawa would meet the challenge.

A week later, Chow-Fraser remains, well, cautiously optimistic.

I spoke with her Tuesday about the the newly-released plan–its ups and its downs–and how UNESCO might react when it meets in July to discuss the issue.

Here is our conversation.

Categories: Economy, Environment, Health, Indigenous, International, Internet, Science and Technology, Politics, Society
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *