A critical review of the Northwest Territories protected areas program

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Holder, Joel
In 1999, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT) Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development jointly signed the NWT Protected Areas Strategy (PAS). The federal and territorial governments, in partnership with Aboriginal organizations and industry and environmental organizations, created the PAS to develop an overall framework and set of criteria to guide the work of identifying and establishing protected areas in the NWT. The research question this thesis looks at is how effective has the NWT PAS been as a mechanism for protecting key natural and cultural places? The objectives of this research inquiry are to examine what success the PAS program has had in achieving its two main goals, to identify any problem areas in implementation, and to use the results from interviews to create recommendations for program modifications to improve effectiveness in establishing new protected areas. Research was conducted using the current PAS program as a case-study for comparison with other Canadian protected area programs. Data were gathered by conducting interviews with key individuals who have had years of experience in implementing the current PAS program. Data collected revealed what worked well and what needs to change in order to develop an improved protected area program suited to the NWT. This research identified a protected area process for establishing protected areas that provide the foundation for a sustainable environment and that will serve the long-term interests of NWT residents and all Canadians.
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