PROVINCE PERMANENTLY DESIGNATES LARGEST AREA OF PROTECTED LAND IN MORE THAN A DECADE
– – – Asatiwisipe Aki Management Plan Approved: Blaikie
The Manitoba government has legally designated 807,650 hectares of boreal forest and wetlands on the east side of Lake Winnipeg as protected traditional territory, Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie announced today. This new designation will increase Manitoba’s protected areas network to over
6.5 million hectares or 10 per cent.
“We have committed to protecting this area for future generations and bringing into law the management plan the Poplar River First Nation has developed,” said Blaikie. “We will continue to work with them to implement the plan for the Asatiwisipe Aki area and look forward to including it as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site bid.”
The Poplar River First Nation is located approximately 400 kilometres north of Winnipeg on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. It is the first community in Manitoba to proceed with land-use planning and submit a management plan for approval under the East Side Traditional Lands Planning and Special Protected Areas Act, Blaikie said.
The province has legally designated the planning area and approved the community’s plan, ensuring the Poplar River First Nation assumes a significant role in developing and implementing strategies for the use, management and sustainable development of the First Nation’s traditional area, said Blaikie.
“The Asatiwisipe Aki Management Plan protects the traditional land from industrial developments, sustaining natural ecological processes for present and future generations,” said Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson. “I am proud to be a part of a government that works in collaboration with the people on the east side to ensure their vision for the land is realized.”
The plan incorporates traditional knowledge, elders’ oral histories, traditional land and resource uses, and mapping and scientific data relating to climate, geology, vegetation, fish and wildlife. The rights of First Nations and aboriginal communities to access the area for hunting, fishing, trapping and other traditional pursuits will be respected and continue. The plan proposes to move forward with initiatives such as education programs, ecotourism and interpretive and cultural programming. Manitoba will support implementation of the plan, Blaikie said.
On behalf of the Poplar River First Nation, the chief and council expressed their gratitude to the Government of Manitoba for fulfilling a longstanding promise to permanently protect the area traditionally used by the Poplar River Anishinabek. The chief and council explained the land management plan sets out how the community will use and protect the land now and for future generations.
Poplar River’s land management plan will be part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site bid which will be formally submitted in 2012. The land-management plans of the Bloodvein, Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids First Nations, two provincial parks and one First Nation in Ontario will also form part of the UNESCO bid.