MANITOBA'S NEWEST PARK RESERVE TO PROTECT COLOUR-CHANGING LITTLE LIMESTONE LAKE
Little Limestone Lake, the largest colour-changing and most unique lake of its kind in the world, is now protected as Manitoba’s newest provincial park reserve, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers announced today.
“Little Limestone Lake is a natural world treasure and this government is moving to fulfil our commitment to protect our own ‘Lake Louise of the prairies,’ ” Struthers said.
Little Limestone Lake is located about 450 kilometres north of Winnipeg. It is considered the finest and largest example of a marl lake in the world. A marl lake changes colour as its water temperature rises and calcite dissolved in the water begins to settle out. In warm summer weather, the lake turns from clear to an opaque turquoise or even to a milky blue-white.
Little Limestone Lake Park Reserve includes the 15-km long lake and its islands as well as a 100-metre-wide strip of shoreline with the exception of the eastern shore which is located in the Mosakahiken Cree Nation. Establishment of this park reserve is part of the government’s commitment to give special protection and management designations to unique areas under the Green and Growing strategy.
Science, Technology, Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau congratulated Xstrata Nickel and the Mosakahiken Cree Nation for their co-operation in establishing this park reserve.
“Xstrata has demonstrated its sound environmental stewardship and social responsibility by adjusting its mineral claims to allow the lake to be legally protected,” he said. “I also applaud Mosakahiken Cree Nation, which is participating with the government in working toward long-term protection and management of this very special place.”
“Our First Nations people were the first stewards of nature’s land and consider conservation and protection of this extraordinary site to be a priority,” said Phillip Buck, chief of the Mosakahiken Cree Nation. “The park reserve designation will allow us to enter into discussions with the province on co-management of this area. We look forward to employing our traditional knowledge for the benefit of all Manitobans.”
Little Limestone Lake is the second park reserve to protect some of the unique features of Manitoba’s limestone landscape. Walter Cook Caves Park Reserve, a 3,200-hectare reserve located 35 km north of Grand Rapids, was designated in 2001 and protection was recently renewed until 2012 to allow for more discussions to take place on the permanent protection of this site.
“Little Limestone Lake is a remarkable phenomenon of nature,” said Dale Hull, chief operating officer for Pure Nickel Inc., the new mineral exploration company that recently acquired the William Lake claims from Xstrata. “The area contains many unique caves, sinkholes, disappearing streams, underground springs and lakes that can fill and drain in a matter of days. These are wonders of nature that need to be preserved for future generations.”
Pure Nickel endorsed Xstrata’s willingness to have its claim boundaries modified to make the park reserve designation a reality and fully supports the government’s position to preserve this unique and beautiful resource, Hull said.
“To preserve this valuable natural feature, our company has agreed to reduce our claims in the area to create the park reserve just as we did for Walter Cook Caves,” said Jamie Robertson, director of Raglan nickel mine exploration in northern Quebec for Xstrata Nickel. “This is definitely a win-win opportunity for the people who live here, the province and the mining industry as we work together to protect this spectacular lake and the high mineral potential of the area.”
Since 1999, approximately 855,000 hectares of land has been permanently protected as work continues to expand Manitoba’s vital network of protected areas. An additional 138,600 hectares of land has been designated as park reserves which provide interim protection while allowing time for a public review to take place on a permanent protected areas designation.