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Wabakimi Wilderness Park – Parks in Peril

March 17, 2013

Wabakimi is classified as a wilderness park.  There are only eight wilderness parks in Ontario:

Kesagami, Killarney, Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater, Opasquia, Polar Bear, Quetico, Wabakimi, Woodland Caribou. 

Wilderness class parks are large intact wilderness areas where natural systems are allowed to fluctuate with natural forces with little or no human intervention.  Visitors may travel on foot or by canoe, no mechanized travel is permitted,  and offer little if any facilities for visitors. These areas provide the solitude of an undisturbed, natural setting.

This could all change as the Ontario govt. begins a management planning process for Wabakimi Wilderness Park.  Please get involved.

Wabakimi is located approx. 500 km. north of Thunder Bay and is home to largest remaining, but rapidly declining, Woodland Caribou population.   The Ontario govt. has already extended private hunt camps in Wabakimi, and it recently released a ‘Terms of Reference’ document suggesting  further recreational development.

In the last year, the Ontario Liberal govt. has introduced several new initiatives all aimed at reducing environmental protection in a desperate attempt to spur economic growth from weakening the Endangered Species Act, to allowing aggregate extraction in wetlands.  The new Wabakimi Management Plan is no different.  The need for tough environmental protection of wilderness parks to preserve its wilderness qualities is being challenged in order to spur economic development in this area of Ontario. 

The area surrounding Wabakimi  already suffers from immense industrial pressure from logging companies clearcutting the boreal forest and destroying Woodland Caribou homeland.  For anyone who has traveled to this area of Ontario, they will likely understand that northern Ontario is anything but pristine but rather a forestry and mining industrial wasteland.  The only difference is that these activities are hidden from view behind strips of standing trees along highways.

Wabakimi remains the only refuge and hope in preserving any remnants   of a naturally functioning ecosystem. 

Please learn more, and make your voice heard:
http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/planning_pdf/waba/waba_kopk_ToR.pdf

Environmental Bill of Rights Registry: http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/   EBR # 011-8197

Please send comments to:

Michèle Proulx, Park Planner
Ministry of Natural Resources
Provincial Services Division, Ontario Parks
Northwest Zone Office
435 James Street South
Thunder Bay Ontario
P7E 6S8

Phone: (807) 475-1477
Fax: (807) 475-1499
Email: michele.proulx@ontario.on


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