Ottawa invests $27.5M into Canada’s largest national park located in northern Alberta

Wood Buffalo National Park. CREDIT: UNESCO

The federal government is putting up $27.5 million over the next five years for Canada’s biggest national park after concerns about its status as a world heritage site.

Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna announced the money for Wood Buffalo National Park, which covers almost 45,000 square kilometres of grasslands, wetlands and waterways in northern Alberta.

She says the investment will support development of a plan to ensure the future of the world heritage site.

The area’s Mikisew Cree complained to UNESCO some years ago that Wood Buffalo’s environmental values are being downgraded by oilsands activity, climate change and hydro development.

READ MORE: Wood Buffalo World Heritage Site ‘significantly threatened’: international scientists

UNESCO investigated in 2016 and last year warned that it might put the park on its list of endangered sites.

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A committee issued a report with 17 recommendations and gave Canada until this year to explain how it would step up conservation efforts.

READ MORE: Wood Buffalo National Park is threatened by industry, climate change: environmental assessment

McKenna says in a news release that the money will address those recommendations and further support Canada’s response to the committee in its requested timelines.

“As I have said many times before, the findings and recommendations of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee represent an important call to action,” she said Thursday. “Today, our government continues to take action. “Our commitment is real.”

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