‘It is a big deal to have a reactive monitoring mission sent to a world heritage site,’ says environmentalist
After a visit by UNESCO monitors to determine whether Wood Buffalo National Park is “in danger,” people in nearby Fort Chipewyan, Alta. are wondering whether the inspection will lead to greater protection for the park.
Canada’s largest national park, straddling the border of northeastern Alberta and the Northwest Territories, has been a world heritage site since 1983 and an “in danger” designation would be a black mark on Canada’s reputation.
The fear in the community is that the fragile eco-system of the park is “drying out,” hurt by B.C.’s Bennett Dam and upstream oilsands.
For years Cree, Dene and Métis have been saying the park and the connecting Peace River Athabasca Delta are disappearing, with lake and river levels getting lower.