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To protect and save

Woodland caribou wander in and out of Nahanni National Park Reserve, crossing an imaginary line that separates them from danger. The park covers less than 15 percent of the Northwest Territories’ South Nahanni River watershed, leaving out key wildlife habitats and the sources of all but one river. It is also losing ground in the battle against trophy hunters and mining companies.

This year’s Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fraser Lectureship in Northern Studies aims to raise awareness about the movement by conservationists and First Nations to expand the park.

"The Nahanni is the jewel in the Dehcho crown," says Herb Norwegian, one of the speakers on the tour and grand chief of the Dehcho First Nations, which occupies 80 percent of the land in the Nahanni watershed. "Parks Canada needs to buy out the mines and get the big-game outfitters out of the park." The five-day tour in late November will visit five universities throughout southern Ontario.

Proposed zinc mining poses serious concerns for the virtually roadless wilderness. "It would be tragic to compromise this for short-term mineral development," says Alison Woodley, northern conservation specialist for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, a partner in this year’s lecture series. "We recognize that mining is a part of Canada’s economy, but we also recognize the importance of protecting something so special and unique."

For more details on the lecture, click here.

— Tanya Manoryk

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