Have the proposed key strategies and area management approaches captured the park priorities? (Phase 2)

The planning team has developed a draft for each of the key strategies and area management approaches, each of which contains objectives, targets and actions. The following key strategies and their corresponding objectives, targets and actions, set park management priorities for the next five years: (1) Taking Care of Naha Dehé (2) Naha Dehé, A Gift to be Shared, and (3) Waters for Life. While key strategies focus on management approaches that affect the park as a whole, there are certain places within the park that merit a special focussed approach. Three areas have been identified for area management approaches (AMA): Gahnįhthah (Rabbitkettle Area); (2) Naįlįcho (Virginia Falls); and (3) the Expansion Area. Do the objectives capture the key challenges and opportunities facing the park? Will they lead to the achieving the park vision? Are the targets and actions feasible? Do you have feedback or suggestions for any of the objectives, targets, and actions for any of the key strategies or area management approaches?

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blackcat Comment 1

2:52pm, 8 January 2010

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I’m a professional geologist and geophysicist with a mining, oil and gas, and environmental background. I’m also a volunteer member of the board of directors of the Southern Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. In my personal and technical opinion, I believe that the Canadian Zinc Corporation’s partially developed lead/zinc/silver mine on Prairie Creek needs to be decommissioned, as its future operation and the potential breach of its tailings pond, pose hazards to humans and to the environment. Several years ago, I visited Nahanni National Park, on a geology field trip, and marvelled at the Grizzly Bear and Dahl Sheep populations that I saw. While in Nahanni, I stayed in the trailer camp at the lead/zinc/silver mine, and viewed, first-hand, the tailings pond associated with this industrial development within a national park. The Nahanni River watershed, with its numerous side-tributaries is prone to catastrophic flash floods down canyons like Prairie Creek. Historically, these flash floods have caused environmental destruction (a natural phenomenon, in this case) and the loss of human life. In my personal and technical opinion, a breach of the Canadian Zinc Corporation’s tailings pond on Prairie Creek would be catastrophic and would 1) present a risk to humans involved in recreation on Nahanni River, and 2) would inflict environmental damage on the Nahanni River and the Nahanni River Watershed, including areas downriver.

Chuck – Parks Canada Comment 1.1

NNPR Superintendent

2:49pm, 11 January 2010

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Thank you for sharing your concerns. All these points will likely be addressed during the current environmental assessment for the proposed mine.

Jay Frederic Comment 1.2

8:13am, 29 January 2010

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I can fullheartedly agree with your comments, but I am afraid that continuation of the Prairie Creek mine was a must-go condition (to agree to enlarge the Park) by both the Federal and the Territorial governments. Therefore, I suspect that the NNPR management team’s hands are tied. But there should be technical means existing too avoid a breach of the tailings pond, for instance to build an emergency second, or even third, tailings pond which would absorb the industrial waste if the walls of the present pond would break. Another – also very expensive but perhaps worthwhile – way of avoiding the catastrophy you have realistically mentioned would be that the Canadian Zinc Corporation would be forced to regularly (daily) empty the pond and transport via the existing access road the waste to a recycling facility outside of the park, or to build such a recycling plant right next to the mine. That is surely all very expensive, but it must be seriously considered.

Plloyd Comment 2

1:56pm, 9 January 2010

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What additional access is available for the expansion area? Hopefully people can get into these areas by float plane … if not very few people will see it. We need people to visit if we are going to convert people to become supporters … especially people under 40.

Will Rabbitkettle still be readily accessible by float plane?

Laani – Parks Canada Comment 2.1

Planner

2:40pm, 11 January 2010

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In the original park there were two designated landing sites, Nailicho (Virginia Falls) for day-use and backcountry access, and Gahnihthah Mie (Rabbitkettle Lake) for backcountry access. An additional six locations are proposed as designated landing sites: Bunny Bar, Haywire Lake, Honeymoon Lake, Glacier Lake, Fairy Meadows and Seaplane Lake. Details on the types of aircraft and access are outlined in the Aircraft Access factsheet located in “library”.

Bufflehead Comment 2.1.1

11:26pm, 12 January 2010

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Why so many? There is talk of keeping the park wild but then you open it up to flights, immediately taking away the feeling of isolation and remoteness. I understand flights for certain areas where river trips would come in, but it seems a bit excessive.

And fairy meadows? When I was camping in the fairy meadows I watched goats feeding in the meadow. These are animals that are very sensitive to disturbances such as flights. What kind of steps are going to be taken to ensure the health of wildlife?

Laani – Parks Canada Comment 2.1.1.1

Planner

6:47pm, 13 January 2010

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Thank you for your comments about the health of wildlife. Apparently, the importance of this is not coming through in the draft elements of the management plan. It should be best captured in Key Strategy #1 and the Expansion Area Management Approach, which together highlight a precautionary approach, adaptive management and the importance of building greater ecological understanding and monitoring.

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During the writing of the final draft, we’ll be sure we reflect your concerns, and those of others who have commented on the forum, in regards to the importance of ecological integrity.

Steve – Parks Canada Comment 2.1.1.2

Resource Conservation

6:49pm, 13 January 2010

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The new designated aircraft access recognize a long standing tradition of aircraft access to those locations. With respect to the park expansion area, there were actually several more locations where aircraft access was relatively frequent in the past that haven’t been included on the list of designated aircraft landing locations.

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Concerns have been expressed about aircraft access to Fairy Meadows in the Cirque-of-the-Unclimbables, and more consideration will be given to this particular designation bfore a final decision is made.

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Seaplane Lake is virtually the only lake of suitable size to permit floatplane access along the length of the Flat River. This lake is just outside the former boundary of the park, and there is already an existing portage trail between the lake and the Flat River. Similarly, the 2 locations at Island Lakes (Haywire Lake and Honeymoon Lake) have been used for many years, and are a logical access point for visitors who want to enjoy a longer canoe trip. As with SeaplaneLake, there is an existing portage trail between Honeymoon Lake and the South Nahanni River. Haywire Lake affords direct access from the lake to the river without the need for a portage. The Bunny Bar is situated just a few kilometres north of Rabbitkettle Lake near the original park boundary and has a long-standing tradition of aircraft access. This location provides the only location in the park where it is possible to land a plane with wheels. On occasion, when the Rabbitkettle Lake area has been close due to the presence of bears in the area, the Bunny Bar provides an alternate access point for visitors waiting to begin their trip. Finally, Glacier Lake has long been used by day-visitors to the area as part of a scenic trip that includes a stop at Virginia Falls. Glacier Lake is also a key drop-off location for mountain climbers and hikers who plan a visit to the Cirque of the Unclimbables.

Mzero Comment 2.1.1.2.1

11:08pm, 16 January 2010

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I do not agree with scenic day-trip flights to Glacier Lake. That disrupts the wilderness experience, not to mention disturbing the wildlife. Helicopters in particular are incredibly intrusive. It is bad enough at Virginia Falls, don’t extend it further into the park.

I think the park should only be for self-propelled visitors. There are enough other parks for the casual tourist.

Jay Frederic Comment 2.1.2

10:19am, 29 January 2010

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I did read the mentioned Airccraft Access factsheet, and I was unpleasantly surprised that at all mentioned locations helicopters are allowed. Apart from Fairy Meadows, which I already have commented on that in my opinion copters should be banned alltogether from FM, I frankly do not see the need that helicopters should land at every other of the many locations mentioned – a float plane or wheeled plane could just as well land there and constitutes considerably less a disturbance than helicopters.

I also think that for the Moore’s hotsprings it would be quite sensible to open up just one of the Island Lakes (either Honeymoon or Haywire) since they all are in the ‘direct’ vicinity.

In other words, eliminating FM and reducing Island Lakes to just one, brings the total number of air destinations down to six.

When thinking of the further expansion, i.e. the newly planned Sahtu NPR adjacent to the present Dehcho NNPR, there surely will also be established more than one air access location, thus raising the numbers of air access even further. In so far, I can basically agree with the worries of Bufflehead.