The federal government has announced an injection of $27.5 million in funding into Wood Buffalo National Park over the next five years to secure the future of the park’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The announcement comes in response to studies of the 44,800-square kilometre park – Canada’s largest – which determined an action plan was needed to protect it from numerous environmental threats.
The funding aims to build capacity to develop and implement a plan that will “protect species at risk and put in place new recovery initiatives for priority species, areas, and threats to [the] environment.”
Parks Canada said a formal consultation and public comment period on the action plan will take place in late fall, with a final plan submitted to the World Heritage Centre on December 1, 2018.
By email on Friday, Wood Buffalo National Park said it was unable to comment on the announcement, adding details will be worked out in the coming weeks.
An environmental assessment regarding the impacts of development of the park has also been completed.
These studies come after a 2014 petition, submitted by the Mikisew Cree First Nation, requested the park be considered a “world heritage site in danger” in response to nearby oil sands and hydro development.
“Our government continues to take action with this new, substantial, and long-term investment,” said environment minister Catherine McKenna in a news release.
“Our commitment is real and we will continue to work with all of our provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to secure the future of the Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site for generations to come,”