Premier Jason Kenney has talked to the press on Thursday stating that the government of Alberta plans to expand the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland by 143,800 hectares.

Premier Keeney stated:

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“For generations, Albertans have found beauty and pride in the stunning natural landscapes across our province. Alberta’s sweeping prairies, the rolling foothills, the majestic mountain vistas have inspired countless works of art and have brought tourists here from all around the world. And Alberta’s government has taken significant steps to make sure that these treasures are both celebrated and preserved. But it’s often easy to forget that more than half of our entire province is covered with the boreal forest. These lush green areas have provided homes and habitat for native species for generations, long before humans arrived on this land. And because of what we are announcing today, they’ll continue to do so for generations to come.”

Established two years ago, the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland currently covers more than 160,000 hectares. Kitaskino means “our land” in Cree and Nuwenëné means “our land” in Dene.

The area is home to many different, unique species. Moose, bears, river otters, caribou and wood bison are all part of Alberta’s wilds and needs to be protected.

The premier added:

“And because they sit atop the oil and gas resources that have driven our modern economy, both government and industry have made it a priority fully to restore these lands once work is completed. In short, these lands, particularly the boreal forest, are a part of who we are.”

The Athabasca Oil Corporation and Cenovus have agreed to surrender Crown mineral agreements in the area to support the mentioned expansion.

The premier commented:

“This is a shining example of how valuable and important partnerships and collaboration are when it comes to land use and conservation planning.”