Loading articles...

Wood Buffalo National Park still under threat

Last Updated Jul 4, 2023 at 6:58 pm MDT

A bison is shown in Wood Buffalo National Park in a handout photo. The status of Canada's largest park as a world heritage site remains wobbly as a UN body has expressed grave doubts about plans to rescue Wood Buffalo National Park. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Belanger MANDATORY CREDIT

A United Nations body is affirming earlier findings that Canada’s largest national park remains under environmental threats from dams, oilsands development and climate change.

The UNESCO report, issued on June 30, 2023, is the latest step in reviewing whether the vast Wood Buffalo National Park should lose its World Heritage Site status.

It says the park located on the Alberta-Northwest Territories boundary shouldn’t be removed from the prestigious list at this time.

UNESCO said some things, such as whooping crane numbers, are improving.

However, it adds that about half of what makes the park a special place is deteriorating, mostly because of water quality and quantity.

The report says upstream oilsands development continues to pose a major threat.

It calls for reform of oilsands monitoring, more thorough review for new projects and an independent risk assessment of the tailings ponds as well as clear plans for how they will be cleaned up.

With files from The Canadian Press.