The Wilderness Committee is celebrating a wonderful holiday gift, as the Manitoba government has put permanent protection in place for over 30,000 hectares in 11 wild and natural areas in the province.
“Permanently protecting these invaluable wilderness areas is a big deal,” said Eric Reder, Manitoba Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee.
“This afternoon we’ll crack open some champagne, and have a celebratory drink as we look over the big Manitoba wall map of the natural areas we’ve been working to safeguard for the last 14 years.”
Kinwow Bay, Sturgeon Bay and Pelican Islands have had interim protection since 2001, and are now receiving permanent protection. These areas were nominated for protection by Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation.
Six wetland bogs in southeastern Manitoba are also getting protection as Ecological Reserves: Woodridge, Cedar, St. Labre, Piney, Lewis and St. Anne Bog. In addition, Pembina Valley and Moose Lake Provincial Parks are expanding.
The Wilderness Committee first began raising awareness about Sturgeon Bay in a 2001 educational report on Manitoba parks. Since then, Wilderness Committee supporters have submitted hundreds of letters asking for permanent protection for the region, along with Kinwow Bay and Pelican Islands.
“It’s really an incredible feeling to know that after years of campaigning to preserve these wild pieces of Manitoba, they will finally be protected forever,” Reder said.
In March of this year, the Wilderness Committee was first to report on plans to protect the six new bog areas in southeast Manitoba. The Wilderness Committee has been calling for protection of the Whitemouth River watershed – where three of the bogs are located – since 2009, and mobilized Manitobans to express their support for all six new protected bogs during this spring’s public comment period.
“The Manitoba government has recently committed to protecting 17 per cent of the province by 2020. But the Wilderness Committee still feels that reaching a goal of protecting 20 per cent of Manitoba’s lands and waters by 2020 is a real possibility,” said Reder. “Either way, today’s announcement is an awesome step towards that goal.”
The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. The Committee works for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research and grassroots education. It also works on the ground to achieve ecologically sustainable communities.