July 31st was a big day for conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador. The federal and provincial environment ministers joined with the Grand Chief of the Innu Nation in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to announce Canada’s 46th national park – the 10,700 km2 Akami-uapishku – KakKasuak – Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve in Labrador.

CPAWS welcomes the exciting news that Parks Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador have finalized an agreement to transfer lands from the provincial to the federal government to create the park, as well as the conclusion of an Impacts and Benefits Agreement between Parks Canada and the Innu Nation.

Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve will be the largest national park in eastern Canada. This magnificent landscape includes mountain tundra, coastal ecosystems, boreal forests, islands and wild rivers that are home to Atlantic salmon and trout. It will protect a large proportion of the habitat of the threatened Mealy Mountain caribou herd, as well as for wolves, black bear, marten and other wildlife.

We congratulate the many Labradorians and Aboriginal groups who worked tirelessly over decades with Parks Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to get to this exciting moment where the park can be created. We look forward to the park being formally protected under the Canada National Parks Act during the next Parliament, and to the completion of collaborative agreements or arrangements between Parks Canada and the Nunatsiavut Government, NunatuKavut Community Council and Quebec Innu.

We encourage the provincial government to now move forward with the promised Eagle River Provincial Waterway Park. In 2010, when the federal and provincial governments announced that they had completed a park feasibility study and would proceed with establishing the national park reserve, Newfoundland and Labrador committed to protecting a 3,000 km2 adjacent area around the Eagle River.

We, at CPAWS, are very excited that the Mealy Mountains will now join Gros Morne, Terra Nova and the Torngat Mountains National Parks in protecting some of our most magnificent wild places, and we encourage Canadians from coast to coast to coast to come and experience these natural treasures for themselves.