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

4 days 3 hours ago
News Release Wilderness Committee delivering over 3,600 letters during public consultation on Nopiming Provincial Park Draft Management Plan WINNIPEG – This morning the Wilderness Committee will deliver 3,600 letters to Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, asking for a ban on mining in provincial parks. The timely delivery of letters is occurring during the public consultation period regarding the Draft Management Plan for Nopiming Provincial Park. Shockingly, 81 per cent of Nopiming remains open for mining.
4 days 4 hours ago
A environmental lobby group is trying to ban all mining from provincial parks. The Wilderness Committee will deliver 3,600 letters to Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger today asking his government to impose the ban.
4 days 4 hours ago
Approximately 3,600 letters were delivered to Premier Greg Selinger’s office on Tuesday, asking that his government outlaw mining in provincial parks.

Take Action

Help preserve wilderness in Nopiming Provincial Park

Write a letter now!

Nopiming Provincial park is a wild destination for more than 100,000 people every year. With lots of undeveloped lakes and forests, as well as rivers to paddle down, Nopiming allows access to a peaceful wilderness while also providing a haven for wildlife.

Over the years, human activity has diminished the wild nature of this region, and it’s time we worked harder at preserving Nopiming. 

Woodland caribou and moose populations are threatened, all-terrain vehicles are leaving their mark and military training activity is degrading lakeshores in south Nopiming. Mining activity is bulldozing through the park, and leaving long-lasting scars.

The Manitoba government has released the Draft Management plan for Nopiming Provincial Park, and they are asking for public comment until November 30, 2015.

There are some good points in the draft plan, such as protecting more of the park and controlling all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use. But they’ve also missed an opportunity to remove mining from the park and get rid of destructive military training.

When the government first asked for input on their plan in 2014, the Wilderness Committee produced a document called A Greenprint for Nopiming Provincial Park, which explains what we think is needed to maintain nature and wilderness in the park.

Now the Wilderness Committee has produced a detailed critique of the draft plan, highlighting improvements that need to be made to preserve Nopiming’s nature and wilderness. Please take the time to read it here, and then write a letter to government asking them to implement these recommendations.

Write your letter now!


Photo: Moose in Nopiming Provincial Park, Manitoba (Eric Reder).

End Logging in Ontario and Manitoba Parks

Write a letter now!

Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario and Duck Mountain Provincial Park in Manitoba are two popular parks that share the dubious distinction of being the last two Canadian parks with long-term logging operations continuing inside their boundaries.

The idea of industrial activity in a park may not have raised any alarm bells in the past, but times have changed. The federal government removed industrial activity from national parks in 1930, and both the Manitoba and Ontario governments have ended logging in all provincial parks – except Duck Mountain and Algonquin.

Shockingly, today 61 per cent of Duck Mountain Park and 65 per cent of Algonquin Park are available for forestry activity.

Logging in parks is an assault on our parks, and it’s contrary to what Canadians believe a park should be. Logging roads slice nature apart and cause fragmentation that is destructive to wilderness and wildlife habitat.

To learn more about this issue, please read our new educational report, End Logging in Ontario and Manitoba Parks.

The respected voices of the Environment Commissioner of Ontario and the Clean Environment Commission in Manitoba have stated that logging in parks must stop.

It’s time for us to end park logging, once and for all.

Please use our letter-writing tool to let the Premiers of Manitoba and Ontario know that you want to end logging in provincial parks.

Click here to write your letter now!


Photo: Logs in a clearcut at Duck Mountain Provincial Park, Manitoba (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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