Get to know 10 of Canada’s most significant (and big!) natural areas

(Photo by iStock)

(Photo by iStock)

October 3, 2018 | by Mark Rittinger

Large, intact natural areas are home to Canada’s most valuable ecosystems. These spaces are key to our quality of life.

Canada’s forests, grasslands, wetlands and coastal areas absorb carbon dioxide, provide buffers for flooding, purify water and help lessen other effects of climate change. These places also offer us the opportunity to explore, be active and recharge our mind and hearts — outdoors.

Many people comment on the bounty of natural spaces that Canada has. We often take this opportunity for granted. I’ve begun to think of it less as an opportunity and more of an obligation – almost an “…ask what you can do for your country…” kind of perspective. We have an obligation to this tiny blue (and green!) planet to respect its natural elements and to learn how to co-exist with nature. Not in a distributive fashion, where there are winners and losers, but in an integrated fashion, where the goal is a mutually beneficial outcome.

In our most ambitious fundraising initiative to date, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is aiming to raise $750 million and conserve 3.2 million acres (1.3 million hectares). This investment will help protect more than 500 new land conservation projects across Canada, including 10 large-scale signature land and water projects.

Learn more about these 10 diverse and monumental natural area projects below.

1. Heart of Gold, British Columbia

NCC will expand our existing lands to protect grasslands, shrub lands and deserts in this area, which harbour an extraordinary richness of unique and rare wildlife.

2. Next Creek Watershed, British Columbia

Through an ambitious and urgent campaign to add almost 20,000 acres (8,000 hectares) to BC’s Darkwoods Conservation Area, NCC will build on our legacy of protecting and restoring critically important habitats for grizzly bears and other large mammals.

Grizzly bear (Photo by Caroline Henri)

Grizzly bear (Photo by Caroline Henri)

3. Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor, Alberta

Help NCC create and connect a 3,950-acre (1,600-hectare) corridor along the Crowsnest Pass. Once completed, it will allow critical wildlife movement between numerous protected areas along the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies in Canada and the United States. NCC is working to complete the corridor in recognition of Jim Prentice’s public service and his passion toward conservation across Canada.

4. Canada’s largest protected forest (Birch River Wilderness Park), Alberta

Under the campaign, NCC purchased and extinguished a significant timber permit to secure more than 3,300 km2 adjacent to Wood Buffalo National Park. When added to neighbouring conserved lands, the area now measures 67,000 km2 (6.7 million hectares). 

5. Endangered grasslands, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

More than 70,000 acres (28,000 acres) of native grasslands — among the most endangered ecosystems on the planet — and at least another 200,000 acres (81,000 hectares) on public lands will be protected for nature and sustainable ranching through the campaign.

6. The Last Great Lakes Wilderness, Ontario

Black Bay, Lake Superior, ON (Photo by Costal Productions)

Black Bay, Lake Superior, ON (Photo by Costal Productions)

NCC aims to protect more than 15,000 acres (6,300 hectares) of coasts and islands along the north shore of Lake Superior. 

7. Canada’s hot spot for rare species, Ontario

Help NCC secure and restore habitats in three high-priority areas along the northern shores of Lake Erie. This area has the country’s highest concentration of rare species and serves as the agricultural and industrial heartland of Ontario.

8. Kenauk Wildlife Corridor, Quebec

Through the campaign, NCC is aiming to build on the existing Kenauk property to protect even more of the region’s forests, wetlands and lakes. This will help maintain a major wildlife corridor that stretches north from the Ottawa River to the Laurentian Mountains.

9. Halifax Wilderness Park, Nova Scotia

You can help NCC create a one-of-a-kind, 379-acre (153-hectare) wilderness  park  near  the  centre  of  Halifax. The property is owned by The Shaw Group. NCC’s  vision  for  the  Halifax  Wilderness  Park  is  to  protect  a  place  for  both  wildlife  and  people. NCC  has  the  support  of  The  Shaw  Group  and  the  municipal  council  for  this  $8-million  park  project. It is NCC’s largest fundraising campaign in Atlantic Canada. 

10. Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound), Nunavut

Inlet around Lancaster Sound, NU © Parks Canada/Diane Blanchard

Inlet around Lancaster Sound, NU © Parks Canada/Diane Blanchard

Through the campaign, NCC created a National Marine Conservation Area by securing more than 2.1 million acres (860,000 hectares) of offshore exploratory permits and releasing them back to the Government of Canada. Long known for its richness of marine mammals and birds, this area will protect habitat for iconic Arctic species, including polar bear, narwhal, beluga whale and walrus.

I’ve come to wear a greater feeling of responsibility to our future and that this feeling of responsibility perhaps comes with being Canadian. I think that is what has made conservation more important to me.

By joining forces with thousands of Canadians in the largest private campaign for conservation in Canada, you can help NCC conserve more land faster, connect more Canadians to nature and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.

Donate today >

 

Mark Rittinger (Photo courtesy Mark Rittinger)

About the Author

Mark Rittinger is thrilled to be serving as NCC's vice-president, development and marketing.

Read more about Mark Rittinger.

More by this author »