A National Park for Northern BC

Parks Canada's objective is to represent each of Canada's 39 natural regions with at least one national park. One of the few remaining regions that remains unrepresented in the national park system is the "Northern Interior Plateaux and Mountains", a region that stretches from the southern Yukon into the northern interior of B.C. The establishment of a well-placed, large scale national park in northern B.C. provides an opportunity to ensure the highest form of ecological protection as well as significant economic opportunities for First Nations communities.

Nature and animals galore

Throughout the length of the Northern Interior Plateaux and Mountains region, mountains and plateaus rise up from sweeping areas of intact largely boreal forest with pristine rivers and lakes of all sizes. This region supports an estimated 68 species of mammals and 220 species of birds: migrating bird species (sandhill cranes and waterbirds), as well as large amounts of neotropical songbirds and birds of prey. The mammals include healthy populations of thinhorn sheep, woodland caribou, wolves, grizzly bears, wolverines and lynx, many of which require large areas of undisturbed wilderness for their survival. A diversity of fish species includes all five species of Pacific salmon, various trout species, mountain whitefish and northern pike.

The threat

Stronghold for North America’s animals

A large park of consequence in this region will be important on a global scale. It is an immense opportunity to safeguard habitat for North America’s dwindling animals.  This might become the only place in the world where they continue to exist in a rapidly changing climate. The region covers the northern interior of B.C. between the Coast Mountains and the Rocky Mountain Trench, and the southern two-thirds of the Yukon between the Coast-St. Elias Mountains and Mackenzie Mountains. This is an immense opportunity to safeguard habitat for North America’s dwindling intact predator-prey systems. 

Industrial threats and opportunities

A substantial portion of this region currently has mining claims. Hydroelectric projects, oil and gas development, electrical transmission line rights-of-way; and new access roads are impending threats to the region. The establishment of a national park would protect a significant natural core area while properly planning other economic opportunities; this is critical prior to industrialization of this remarkable boreal ecosystem.

What CPAWS is doing

Creating a Northern Legacy for Generations to Come

In 2007, CPAWS-BC contracted Jim Pojar, a well-known B.C. conservation scientist, to create an assessment of representative natural areas that would be best fit for a national park in this region. He found that there are 14 potential sites for a new national park and ranked them according to the importance from a conservation perspective. This information has since been presented to Parks Canada.

Thanks to funding from Gencon Foundation, Patagonia and the Wilburforce Foundation, CPAWS-BC completed a Recreation and Tourism Assessment and industry maps for the region. We are now reviewing these assessments and documents in order to meet with First Nations, the Province of BC and the Government of Canada to see if a national park is feasible.


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