CAMP MORTON, WHITESHELL PROVINCIAL PARKS TO EXPAND
– – – Proposed Additions will Support Environmental Protection of Lake Winnipeg Basin, Recreational Opportunities: Mackintosh
The province will further protect the Lake Winnipeg basin and the environment with park expansions proposed for Camp Morton and Whiteshell provincial parks, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.
“Manitoba’s 86 provincial parks cover just over four million hectares of land, nearly equal to the size of Nova Scotia, but there is always more we can to do protect Lake Winnipeg and enhance ecosystem protection, while improving recreational opportunities,” said Mackintosh. “To meet the commitments made in our new parks strategy, we are taking steps to expand both Whiteshell and Camp Morton provincial parks to better protect our environment now and in the years to come.”
In March 2011, the province announced lands next to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation Leadership Camp at Sylvia Lake and around Meditation Lake would be protected through land-use category changes. Following further review, the province is proposing increasing protection for an additional 2,900 hectares of land in the area, almost equal to the size of Birds Hill Provincial Park, to further protect the environment.
The proposed park addition will connect Whiteshell Provincial Park to the Whitemouth Bog Wildlife Management Area and Whitemouth Bog Ecological Reserve including areas around the Rennie River, which carries water from the park into the bog, to the Winnipeg River and on into Lake Winnipeg.
“Environmental groups and the public requested that more land near Sylvia and Meditation lakes be protected and we are moving forward to make that happen,” said Mackintosh. “Under this proposed expansion, more than 20,000 hectares of the park would become a protected backcountry area and a further 2,900 hectares of land would be added to the park.”
The minister noted the department is also working to acquire a property known as Marie-Rose Cottage from the Community of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary for addition to Camp Morton Provincial Park. Adding this parcel of land to the park will not impact on the exercise of treaty and Aboriginal rights, and will be discussed with the public later this spring as part of existing park management plan consultations, said the minister.
The property is in the Rural Municipality of Gimli along the shores of Lake Winnipeg and borders the park on the northeast. The acquisition would add 2.5 acres of land and 450 feet of sandy beach along the lakefront. The rest of the property has a combination of mature forest and open green space.
“Eighty three per cent of all park area in Manitoba is legally protected,” said Mackintosh. “As part of our parks strategy, we have committed to reviewing the other 17 per cent of lands and waters within provincial parks to increase protected areas.”