Recent Updates from the Manitoba Field Office

33 weeks 2 hours 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.

35 weeks 4 hours ago

Right now there are plans in the works to ship 3.3 million gallons of crude oil per year to the northern Manitoba port of Churchill, where it would be loaded on to tankers travelling through Hudson Bay.

The rail line, operated by Omnitrax Inc., travels through remote wilderness areas and sensitive wildlife habitat, where a potential oil spill would be disastrous and extremely difficult to clean up.

39 weeks 2 hours 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.  

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Manitoba Field Office

Welcome to the Wilderness Committee's Manitoba Field Office. The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based wilderness preservation group with 60,000 members, supporters and volunteers, and we are hard at work on the ground in Manitoba. We’ve helped gain protection for over 50 major wilderness areas in Canada, including millions of hectares of critical wildlife habitats, and some of the world’s last large tracts of old-growth temperate rainforest and boreal forest. Through public education, grassroots mobilization, and strategic research, we are working on protecting the wild spaces and species in the province to ensure a healthy future for all Manitobans. We encourage you to join us in our work. 

Campaigns

Stretching from the east side of Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg far into the province of Ontario is one of the greatest natural areas left on earth. The Heart of the Boreal is a vast wilderness filled with jack pine-covered granite ridges, black spruce and tamarack lowlands, and more lakes than you can imagine.

Manitobans are fortunate to still have vast expanses of intact, representative ecosystems within our province. These wild lands provide ecosystem services – byproducts of healthy and natural wild areas – to maintain our own health through clean air and clean water.

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.

Canadians are increasingly aware of the severe environmental issues associated with peat. For centuries peat was used as a source of fuel, and in modern times it is commonly used as a growing medium in amateur gardening. Unfortunately, peat mining is an incredibly destructive and unnecessary industry.

The north is often symbolized by caribou. School children even know of the massive herds made up of thousands of barren ground caribou migrating across the open tundra. The caribou is one of those iconic species, featured prominently on Canada’s 25-cent coin.

Make Your Voice Heard

No Crude Oil Shipments Through Churchill, Manitoba!

Write a letter now!

We need you to raise your voice against a terrible plan to ship crude oil through northern Manitoba communities to the Port of Churchill, and then by tanker through Hudson Bay. It’s a terrible idea that would put this fragile ecological area at risk!

Most people only know Churchill as the place to see polar bears and beluga whales; in fact, it’s the best place in the world to see them. Omnitrax, the company that owns the port and railway, plans to put those polar bears and belugas in jeopardy by shipping crude oil through this region.

We’ve already documented many aspects of this plan that simply won’t work. You can read about the area’s lack of oil spill containment equipment on our blog post here, and even see a government video of cleanup equipment failing in icy northern waters. You can read about how dangerous this rail line is in this blog post, which chronicles four separate derailments and accidents that occurred on this rail line while I was travelling to and from Churchill in the fall of 2013.

For some of the remote communities along the rail line, this single railway is their only access to the outside world – and to each other. How can oil spill response equipment be transported into these communities, when the only rail line has an accident on it? How do you evacuate people when there is no road into these communities? How do we safeguard the population, the wildlife, and the lands and waters that provide for them, when the only access – the rail line – is blocked by a train derailment?

Finally, Hudson Bay itself has no crude oil being shipped through it right now. We do not need to put Hudson Bay at risk. Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec will all share the risk if crude oil is transported through Hudson Bay. This plan does not need to happen!

Please use this letter-writing tool to contact federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, and voice your opinion today! Share this information with your family, friends and neighbours – the more people who speak up, the better.

We must ban crude oil shipments through Hudson Bay to protect marine ecosystems, to protect the fragile northern ecology, and to protect the Bushline and Bayline communities – and the territories they rely on to thrive.

Click here to write to the Minister of Transport today.                      

 


Photo: The rail line heading into the Port of Churchill, Manitoba (Eric Reder).

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