Groups back Manitoba decision on boreal protection

Posted on March 17th, 2010

Announcing Heart of the Boreal action alert/website

Canadian, Manitoban and U.S. organizations have joined together in an action alert to urge the Manitoba Government to stand firm on its commitment to not construct the BiPole III hydro transmission line on the east side of Lake Winnipeg and to protect millions of hectares of unique boreal forest as an UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS).

The Boreal Forest Network (BFN), Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), the Wilderness Committee (WC) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are calling on the public, in Canada and the United States, to tell the province to continue to say no to an industrial transmission line on the east side and to move forward with the creation of a World Heritage Site.

The Manitoba based groups launched a joint website today at heartoftheboreal.ca to celebrate the ecological and cultural attributes of the majestic east side lands and their peoples. To sign the action alert go to: take action on the website.

“Critics of the government of Manitoba’s BiPole III decision have attempted to pressure our government to reverse their decision to keep this pristine area intact,” said Susanne McCrea of the Boreal Forest Network. “We applaud the province for their commitment and we’ve launched this website to show the public what a gift Manitoba has to offer to the world.”

“Manitoba has a conservation opportunity that most places in the world have lost,” stated Ron Thiessen of CPAWS Manitoba. “Protecting the east side will help curb global climate change while providing tourism revenues for local communities.”

The U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) launched the action alert, with the support of the Manitoba groups, to bring attention to this international boreal treasure. NRDC had designated the region a “BioGem” of high international ecological importance several years ago.

“Manitoba’s Heart of the Boreal is globally important as an irreplaceable part of the world’s intact boreal forest ecosystem,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, of NRDC. “NRDC’s over 1.2 million members and activists want to support local communities in their conservation efforts and in the establishment of a World Heritage Site.”

The UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) nominated area spans the Manitoba/Ontario border, includes two provincial parks, the Bloodvein River (designated a Canadian Heritage River), and the traditional lands of four Manitoba First Nations and one Ontario First Nation.

The UNESCO WHS nomination is a First Nations-led initiative and represents the vision these communities have for their traditional lands. This vision is fully supported by BFN, CPAWS, WC and NRDC. It is, also, supported by the actions of the Province of Manitoba.

“Grade-school students the world over know of the amazing Amazon rainforest, but not one in a million could tell you about our planet’s other great forest–the Heart of the Boreal,” said Eric Reder, Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee. “People need to know that this area is a global treasure, and then raise their voices to preserve it.”

Contact:

Susan Casey- Lefkowitz, The Natural Resources Defense Council, 202-289-2366, sclefkowitz@nrdc.org

Ron Thiessen, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, 204–794–4971, ron@cpawsmb.org

Eric Reder, the Wilderness Committee,  204–997-8584, eric@wildernesscommittee.mb.ca

Susanne McCrea, The Boreal Forest Network 204-297-0321,       borealaction@gmail.com

For photos, video and link to action, see Website: heartoftheboreal.ca www.heartoftheboreal.ca