New road under attack

WOOD BUFFALO, Alta. — Parks Canada’s decision to re-open an old winter road through Wood Buffalo Provincial Park is drawing fire from native and environmental groups.

“We oppose this decision and intend to fight it vigorously,” Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society national executive director Stephen Hazell told local media. “CPAWS will be consulting with outside legal counsel on our litigation options over the next few days.”

The 118 km road was originally opened in 1958 as a winter logging road, but it was closed two years later.

Park officials, however, say the environmental impact of the road will be minimal.

“We’ve done pretty thorough environmental assessments,” says park field superintendent, Josie Weninger. “We’ve done three separate pieces looking at this and we’re going to do some more work over the summer. A decision has been made that, with mitigation, this shouldn’t have significant impacts.”

Some of the precautions taken by park officials include monitoring bison, moose and caribou, forbidding re-fuelling within 100 metres of a water body, packing the road with snow to prevent erosion and consulting with an archaeologist during road construction.

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