Traditional First Nations lands in the heart of Alberta’s oil sands region to be protected
The Moose Lake area is culturally significant to the First Nation and Metis people of Fort McKay, so the Alberta government is taking steps to ensure this sacred land is protected for generations to come.
Premier Jim Prentice, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Kyle Fawcett and Fort McKay First Nation Chief Jim Boucher signed a Letter of Intent in March to develop an access management plan for the Moose Lake area.
“The Fort McKay First Nation has done a wonderful job of preserving their traditional way of life, while allowing for responsible oil sands development near their community. This has enabled their people to thrive economically within the oil sands region. But it has also meant that some land that is meaningful to them near their reserve has been used for development. When Chief Boucher asked for our support to protect the small parcel of land near Moose Lake for his community, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.”
“The Access Management Plan for the Moose Lake Area will be developed over the next year, together with the Fort McKay First Nation and industry partners in the area. By working together we can come to an agreement that will balance development and environmental protection in this area that is so important to the people of the Fort McKay First Nation.”
“Moose Lake is an important place for the people of my community. It is where many of us go to hunt, trap, fish, and pick berries safely and in peace. The Letter of Intent I have signed with the Alberta government is an important first step to ensure our children and grandchildren have a clean, peaceful place to keep our traditions and culture alive. I am looking forward to working together with the Alberta government and our industry partners to develop this important plan.”
The development of the Moose Lake Access Management Plan will be made possible thanks to the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, which became effective on September 1, 2012, and established new environmental frameworks with limits to protect air and surface water quality, and increased the total conserved land within the region to more than two million hectares. It allows for sub-regional plans of this nature to take shape, with collective input from First Nations, industry and government.
Fort McKay First Nation is located along the banks of the Athabasca River in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, north of Fort McMurray. Moose Lake and Buffalo Lake are also referred to as Gardiner Lake and Namur Lake and they are located approximately 50 km northwest of Fort McKay.