The provincial government is expanding an area of protected forest north of Fort McMurray.
Premier Jason Kenney announced on Thursday the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland will be adding over 143,000 hectares of land.
This will make the park almost three times bigger than Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta.
“The expansion is part of our vision for protecting the Peace Athabasca Delta and important resources like caribou and wood bison,” said Peter Powder, Chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation.
The wildland was first established in 2019, just south of Wood Buffalo National Park.
The expansion puts its overall size to roughly 300,000 hectares with much of the new land overlapping with woodland caribou habitat.
A small portion of the Ronald Lake bison herd range is also covered by the added land.
“Alberta’s northern boreal forests are an important wildlife habitat,” added Kenney.
“This will protect an important ecosystem for generations to come, allowing for backcountry recreation and Indigenous communities to practice traditional activities, like hunting, trapping and fishing.”
Backcountry recreation opportunities, such as hunting and fishing, will be allowed. The province says there’s a possibility of trails and campsites becoming available as well in the future.