Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

A National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) is being proposed by Parks Canada that would protect a representative marine area for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people of Canada and the world on the north shore of Lake Superior. The proposal would cover over 10,000 square kilometres (4000 square miles) of Lake Superior waters from the tip of the Sibley Peninsula to Bottle Point, terminating along the Canada/U.S. open lake border; federal lands including Thunder Cape and lighthouse- associated properties on six islands, Crown lakebed, Crown islands less that one hectare (.4 sq. mi.) in size, 175 Crown islands 1-100 hectares (.4 40 sq. mi.) in size; and 10 Crown land areas on islands greater than 100 hectares that have significant heritage value. No private land areas or new zoning regulations on private lands are included in the proposal. Commercial fishing and trapping, hunting, off-road vehicle use and renewable resource extraction will still be allowed in most areas.

Eighty-seven per cent of respondents approved of some form of an NMCA in the Canadian waters of Lake Superior, according to a May 2000 newsletter from Parks Canada and the regional committee appointed to look into the matter. Committee chair David Tremblay noted that “in listening to residents during our open houses last summer, and then in reviewing the survey responses, one particular theme struck me — respondents want Lake Superior to remain as it is now.”

The Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Fund grant to Environment North in the spring 1999 cycle helped us provide the education and generate the excitement that produced such a high approval rating for the NMCA concept. Simone Pelletier, an environmental engineering technology student at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, was hired last summer to promote public awareness of the NMCA proposal. The effort paid off magnificently!

Environment North’s recent postcard blitz also emerged from the groundswell of NMCA enthusiasm. With the financial assistance of World Wildlife Fund Canada, four cards, each with a stunning colour photograph of Lake Superior, were printed and distributed widely. They are pre-addressed — with messages advocating establishment of the NMCA — to the federal and provincial political leaders who will legislate the NMCA after the regional committee makes its final recommendations before the end of this summer. The 1000, four-card sets quickly made their way into the offices of decision-makers. The response has been formidable: a lot of people want this exciting Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area to happen and they’re keen to share their views!

For more information about the Lake Superior NMCA, please contact Bruce Petersen at Environment North at bpeter@tbaytel.net or call him at (807) 475-5267.

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