Manitoba Earns B Grade from
World Wildlife Fund Canada

Winnipeg, April 28, 2000

World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF) and the Endangered Spaces Campaign in Manitoba today awarded a B grade to the government of Manitoba for its efforts to create protected areas. (See backgrounder attached.)

The grade reflects efforts by First Nations, the Mining Association of Manitoba, the Heavy Construction Industry Association, and other partners who participated in the review of sites. Total land protection amounted to over 200,000 hectares, with water and islands also included.

Currently more than fifty areas are under review for protection, with consultations ongoing. Three of these became park reserves in April 2000. They were based on ecological design, nominated by a First Nation community, and reviewed by other stakeholders.

"With the number of areas under review, Manitoba could lead the country in protection of its landscapes and forest regions this year," Tony Iacobelli, World Wildlife Fund spokesperson said.

"All signs indicate that the Manitoba government will continue to make important protected areas decisions. The government renewed its Action Plan for a Network of Protected Areas and extended the agreement with First Nations for establishment of protected areas, while creating new park reserves. These steps show an understanding that in creating new protected areas we are securing both our natural heritage and the economy for future generations," said Gaile Whelan Enns, Manitoba Endangered Spaces Coordinator for WWF.

Stakeholders are also ready to continue their support. "Our members have worked hard reviewing sites and we intend to continue this participation to help create new protected areas for Manitoba," Ed Huebert, executive vice president of the Mining Association of Manitoba commented.

The Endangered Spaces Campaign - a ten year national campaign for establishment of protected area networks - ends on Canada Day, July 1, 2000. WWF Canada issued a challenge to the Manitoba government in November l999 to protect one million hectares before July 1, 2000. Recent decisions to create these park reserves is a positive step to meeting this challenge. WWF Canada will comment in two months time regarding the status of protected area decisions in Manitoba. The Lowlands national park components, and other areas, including First Nations nominations, are a priority this spring.

Gaile Whelan Enns, Manitoba Endangered Spaces Coordinator