Nahanni National Park Reserve Management Plan Tabled in Parliament 

News release

Collaborative plan affirms ten-year vision and priorities for national park reserve

June 11, 2021                        Fort Simpson/Liidlii Kue, NWT                         Parks Canada Agency

National parks are gateways to discovering, learning about, and connecting with nature. The network of national heritage places administered by Parks Canada represents the very best that Canada has to offer and tell stories of who we are, including the histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples.

Today, the management plan for Nahanni National Park Reserve was tabled in Parliament. Reviewed every 10 years, management plans are a requirement of the Canada National Parks Act and guide the management of national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas.

The updated plan for Nahanni National Park Reserve outlines the following key strategies:


1.  Nahʔą Kué/Our Home – Sharing the Heart of the Dehcho

Sharing the stories, history and culture of the Dene as a central aspect of the visitor experience within a pristine wilderness setting.

2.  Dene Náothę - The Dene Worldview

Fostering traditional and contemporary Dene knowledge in management decisions, as well as engaging the next generation in stewardship of the park reserve.

3.  Nahʔą Dehé Kˊeodhi – Taking Care of Nahʔą Dehé

Meeting emerging environmental challenges facing Nahanni and active maintenance of the ecological integrity within the park.

4.  Yundáa Gogha Tu Kˊehodí - Waters for Life

Protection of water resources for the future and working with partners and communities to maintain water quality.

5.  Reconciling with Indigenous Rights Holders

Expanding inclusive management approaches with Indigenous rights holders that have not previously been involved in cooperative management.


The management plan for Nahanni National Park Reserve was based on input from Indigenous communities, including the Dehcho First Nations and Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band, who have cooperatively managed the park reserve for nearly twenty years. The draft plan was revised at later stages in its development to acknowledge and support reconciliation with Indigenous rights holders that have not formally been involved in cooperative management. The plan also reflects the contributions of other partners and stakeholders, local residents, as well as park visitors.

Parks Canada is committed to a system of national heritage places that recognizes and honours the historic and contemporary contributions of Indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, as well as the special relationships Indigenous peoples have with ancestral lands and waters. This updated management plan is a clear demonstration of the Government of Canada’s commitment towards reconciliation and nation-to-nation relationships. Of note, it sets out a path to support Indigenous cultural land use and improve connections to the park reserve, to support ongoing cultural and language revitalization and knowledge transfer from Elders to youth.

Through this management plan, Parks Canada will protect an important example of natural heritage in Canada, engage and collaborate with Indigenous peoples, and provide an opportunity for Canadians to experience and discover our environment in new and innovative ways.

The Nahanni Management Plan is available for viewing on the Parks Canada website at:


“National historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas offer important opportunities to connect with Canada’s natural heritage, including the histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the management plan that will help shape the future of this treasured place. As the Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, I applaud this collaborative effort to ensure Nahanni National Park Reserve can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

The Honourable Michael McLeod,
Member of Parliament, Northwest Territories 

Quick facts

  • Nahanni National Park Reserve is cooperatively managed with the Dehcho First Nations and Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band, the Indigenous peoples who continue their ancestors’ traditions of caring for the landscape of Nahʔą Dehé, the traditional name for the area now known as Nahanni.

  • Nahanni is one of Canada’s largest national park reserves, protecting more than 33,000 square kilometres of the Mackenzie Mountains natural region. First established in 1976, it was significantly expanded in size in 2009 to it’s current boundaries.

  • Nahanni is a UNESCO world heritage site and the location of the South Nahanni River, designated a Canadian Heritage River.

  • Nahanni National Park Reserve’s world famous South Nahanni River is one of Canada’s most iconic river trip and the alpine region known as the Cirque of the Unclimbables has become an international draw for the climbing community. Nahanni’s protected landscapes include deep canyons, glaciers, high mountain peaks, outstanding karst systems and steeply carved plateaus.  

  • The award-winning film “Nahanni: River of Forgiveness” was developed and produced in 2018. The film followed Dene elders and youth who construct a moose skin boat in the park and paddle it down river out of the park. The project was a significant achievement for cultural revitalization as it was the first moose skin boat in 3 generations.   

Associated links


Kevin Gedling
Partnering, Engagement and Communications Officer
Southwest Northwest Territories Field Unit

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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