Manitoba's Provincial Parks

Manitoba’s provincial parks are home to remote sparkling lakes, clear rivers, sandy beaches and wild boreal forests. You can hike through natural grasslands in Spruce Woods, relax on the sand at Grand Beach, cross-country ski at Duck Mountain, spot rare orchids in Nopiming, or paddle down world-famous canoeing rivers in Atikaki.

But despite their beauty, biological diversity and the fact that they generate billions of dollars to local economies, the reality is that Manitoba’s parks are still under an increasing barrage of threats.

Mining activity, staff cuts, lack of funding, weak laws, encroaching privatization and government indifference are putting the future of the province’s parks in jeopardy. 

Once the bad boy on the block for allowing logging in parks, Manitoba now stands out as one of the few jurisdictions to allow mining activity in parks. Favourite parks, including Nopiming, Grass River and Whiteshell have hundreds of active mining claims covering large expanses within them and they are suffering even further from the devastating impacts of mineral exploration. Adding more pressure, these parks are already littered with dozens of abandoned and orphaned mines, a lasting reminder of the mining industry's destructive nature.

Until recently, logging was permitted in some of Manitoba’s most cherished parks. Few governments in the world clear-cut their parks and Manitoba stood out as one of the worst park-logging offenders.

But in 2009, after a 10-year Wilderness Committee campaign, the government finally relented and stopped logging in all but one park, Duck Mountain, home to some of the most productive aspen parkland and boreal forest in the province.

The Manitoba’s Forest Amendment Act went into effect on June 11, 2009, but the Wilderness Committee’s celebrations were short-lived. Only weeks later, the government issued a license to build a logging road through the heart of the Grass River Provincial Park, causing the same kind of disturbance to wildlife and environmental degradation as logging. This shows a gross inconsistency from the government in light of the recent law and threatens an area that is home to a newly discovered herd of threatened caribou, protected under the province’s Endangered Species Act. In September 2009 the Wilderness Committee filed for a formal appeal against this license, but it was rejected without explanation.

And in 2010, after listening to a public outcry against building a children’s camp on remote Mediation Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park, the province showed that more destruction of provincial parks must be expected. Another unspoiled location has been chosen for the camp--Sylvia Lake--even though the park’s management plan claimed there was too much development back in 1983.

Manitoba’s parks are at risk, despite the superficial gains.

The Wilderness Committee believes that the government must continue to hear from citizens that parks need permanent and comprehensive protection, before more parks and wildlife are threatened by development in areas that should be protected. 

Recent Developments

5 days 20 hours ago
Three years into a $100-million upgrade of facilities at provincial parks, the improvements are visible: the expansion of the beach at Birds Hill, new washrooms at Watchorn and walk-in tent sites at Tulabi Falls. About $44 million has been spent on the Selinger government’s planned upgrades and five more years of improvements are on the books. But outdoor advocates and the Opposition Tories say Manitoba’s parks have been hurt by years of budget cuts to the Conservation and Water Stewardship Department.
8 weeks 6 days ago
March 24, 2015   Manitoba’s protected natural heritage will be a little richer, again, when the government’s plan to establish five new provincial parks and another new Ecological Reserve is completed.
21 weeks 6 days ago
On October 30, 2014, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. filed a formal application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to build the Energy East pipeline – a 4,600-kilometre pipeline from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick intended to transport diluted bitumen from the tar sands. The proposal contains 30,000 pages of information, and is available for download from the NEB website here.

Take Action

Comment on Manitoba’s Plan for Nopiming Provincial Park

Write a letter!

The Manitoba government is asking for public input on a new Management Plan for Nopiming Provincial Park. This is welcome news, and it means that Manitobans get to choose what kind of park they want. Should mine companies bulldoze the forest? Should the military cut down trees at will? Should wakeboard competitions be held on wilderness lakes in the park? Manitobans can have their say to help keep our park natural and wild.

The Wilderness Committee has assembled A Greenprint for Nopiming, a guidance document for the government to consider as they create a draft park plan. Please take the time to read it, and then use our letter-writing tool to send a letter to the government, asking them to implement these recommendations.

Write a letter now >>


Photo: Nopiming Provincial Park (Eric Reder).

Stop mining in Manitoba's Provincial Parks

Manitoba is one of the few jurisdictions in the world to allow mining activity in provincial parks. Our province has 14 parks and one park reserve that are under threat from the destructive mining industry. The parks play host to a staggering 792 mining claims, 22 mineral exploration projects and 4 mineral exploration licenses. Some of these are in the province’s most well-known parks, including Whiteshell, Nopiming, Paint Lake and Grass River. We know these parks need to be protected so they can provide ecosystem services such as water and air filtration, biological diversity and climate regulation. Parks also provide us with places to relax, learn and enjoy the magnificent wilderness Manitoba offers. Mining definitely does not support healthy ecosystems, provide recreational value nor does it fit into the vision of our provincial park system.

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