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. 

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Recent Developments

33 weeks 5 days ago

Last week, the Manitoba government filed the papers to permanently protect 4,000 hectares of land in Hecla / Grindstone Provincial Park. The region had been at risk from mining activity, including a new peat mine proposal.

39 weeks 5 days ago

One of Manitoba’s most cherished parks is still not protected as government promised

The Manitoba government announced the biggest improvement in Whiteshell Provincial Park history this morning, with a wide array of intended public infrastructure upgrades. The Wilderness Committee is pleased to see attention and resources directed towards provincial parks, but the lack of protection for Whiteshell continues to be a major concern.  

46 weeks 6 days ago

The Manitoba government just announced it is proposing to protect 4, 015 hectares (ha) of land in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, and is asking for your public comments by JUNE 2!

Take Action

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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