Alberta to expand world's largest connected stretch of boreal forest preserve

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EDMONTON — Alberta is to expand the world's largest connected stretch of boreal forest preserve.

Environment Minister Jason Nixon says the province plans to protect more than 1,400 square kilometres of forest and wetland, bringing the total area conserved to over 68,000 square kilometres.

The plan for the new area, an expansion of the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Park, now goes out for 30 days of public comment before being enshrined in legislation.

The area sits just south of Wood Buffalo National Park and connects Kitaskino Nuwenëné with Birch Hills Wildland Park, created by the previous government.

Nixon says the park was made possible by the surrender of industrial dispositions on the land from companies such as Cenovus and Athabasca Oil.

Peter Powder, chief of the Mikisew Cree, says the announcement will protect land and water for traditional use.

The park is home to threatened species such as woodland caribou and wood bison.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press