Kitaskino-Nuwene Wildland Park (KNWP)
(formerly called the Biodiversity Stewardship Area (BSA))
This name translates to “our land” in Cree and Dene. “Its about going back to being part of mother earth, not us living on the land. It is us actually being a part of nature.”
This park was formerly known as the BSA or Biodiversity Stewardship Area.
1600 square kilometres of land protected.
Buffers the south end of Wood Buffalo National Park, which will help protect this endangered World Heritage Site.
Conserves natural landscapes and watersheds, as well as the animals within them.
Is not finished! Mikisew plans to work with government and industry to protect even more land with additional phases of the KNWP.
Is an example of successful collaboration between Mikisew, Government of Alberta, Government of Canada (Nature Fund), and Industry.
Teck, Imperial, and Cenovus returned oil leases which made this park possible.
This Park wouldn’t be possible without Miskiew’s hard work in driving this work forward: “…in future, industry should reach out more to FN’s to actually protect our lands for the generations to come because that is what is really meaningful for me. I want my children and grandchildren to see the lands for what they are and industry and govt can help along with that.”
What makes this tract of land culturally important? “….never forget where you come from, your language, that is really important, being a leader, working with GIR, their roles and responsibilities, we are here for a long time so we want to protect what we have, mother earth, in a good way.”
How will this land be used? “…I see the land being used how our people have always used it: practicing our traditional rights. This is a culturally significant piece of land where we collect berries, medicines, and teach our values to the next generations to come. Also it will be public and there will be some management plan around it, so people can go visit. It will be accessible, by winter road I guess, or sand trails and quads. You can also fly to Fort Chip and a local community member will take you out on the boat and give you some bannock and some tea along the way, that is what we will use it for.”
How can MCFN build on this collaboration and momentum: “…I always shoot for the clouds and the stars. If you fall short and you are soaring with the eagles. Mikisew Cree First Nation is pretty well known around Canada and our Government and Industry Relations (GIR) team, Melody Lepine the director there, and our Mikisew group of companies, we are very powerful individuals. We wouldn’t be able to do this without government and industry and you know we welcome partnerships in the future. Its only going to benefit the whole entire world, because we are all part of the land, and we are going to go back to it one day.”
KNWP next steps: (1) start working on management plan, and (2) working to advance next phase of the KNWP.
The KNWP (formerly known as the BSA) is a plan developed by the Mikisew Cree First Nation to protect an area immediately south of Wood Buffalo National Park from development.
The KNWP (BSA) area includes watersheds that flow into Wood Buffalo National Park, habitat of the Ronald Lake Bison Herd and other values that support the way of life of the Mikisew Cree First Nation. Protecting this area is part of a larger vision of securing the future of the Peace Athabasca Delta, which is critical to the continuation of Mikisew’s way of life and an important, yet vulnerable, part of the Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site.
The idea for the KNWP (BSA) came about through consultation with Mikisew community members. Through that engagement, the KNWP (BSA) was identified as a priority protection area by elders and land users. The BSA also aligns with Mikisew’s petition to have Wood Buffalo National Park added to the List of World Heritage in Danger and Mikisew’s submissions regarding the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan. More recently, a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission recommended that an effective buffer zone be established south of Wood Buffalo National Park.
Mikisew has been working since 2016 to secure the support of government and industry for the KNWP (BSA) and is proud that its first phases have been supported and announced.