The expansion will add about 143,800 hectares of land to the protected area in northeastern Alberta – almost three times the size of Waterton Lakes National Park.

The expansion aligns with the Alberta Crown Land Vision, which guides our management of Alberta’s rich, natural heritage of Crown lands. Expanding the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland will:

  • Help protect the landscape, watersheds and wildlife in the area, including bison and woodland caribou.
  • Support Indigenous Peoples’ traditional activities, including the exercise of treaty rights.
  • Create recreation opportunities for Albertans

Backcountry recreation opportunities will be available in the area and the landscape would keep its wild, undeveloped character. Recreation opportunities would be wilderness-oriented, such as remote backcountry experiences, hunting and fishing, and connecting with nature. In the future, trails and backcountry campsites may be provided to support safe and sustainable recreation opportunities.

“Alberta’s northern boreal forests are an important wildlife habitat. Today’s announcement creates the largest protected forest area in Alberta history. 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. This is a classic Alberta partnership between industry, First Nations and government.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“Alberta’s government is committed to a common-sense approach to conservation planning that recognizes the importance of collaboration between government, Indigenous communities and industry. The proposed expansion of Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland is yet another example of that commitment – and will add to the largest contiguous area of boreal protected land in the world once completed. I look forward to working closely with industry partners, land users and Indigenous communities to make this fantastic project a reality.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“The expansion of Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Park is part of our vision for protecting the Peace Athabasca Delta and important resources like caribou and wood bison. We applaud the collaborative effort that brought us to this point, including the broad support from our partners in the energy and forestry sectors, the provincial and federal governments and other Indigenous nations. This is a big, shared achievement.”

Chief Peter Powder, Mikisew Cree First Nation

The Government of Alberta has worked toward this expansion since the establishment of the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland in 2019. Mikisew Cree First Nation led collaborative work on a potential expansion, and discussions have occurred with other Indigenous communities, industry stakeholders, and the Government of Alberta.

Industry stakeholders, including Athabasca Oil Corporation, have contributed to the proposed expansion plans by agreeing to surrender their Crown mineral agreements in the area.

“We are pleased to contribute leased land to this important collaborative conservation effort between government, Indigenous communities and industry. Sustainability leadership is a core element of Cenovus’s strategy, and with our contribution to the proposed Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Park expansion, we are progressing two key sustainability priorities – engagement with Indigenous communities and land stewardship, including the protection of caribou.”

Rhona DelFrari, chief sustainability officer and senior vice-president, Stakeholder Engagement, Cenovus

“Since 2019, Athabasca Oil has been collaborating with the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Government of Alberta to expand the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Park. Athabasca Oil has relinquished over 95,000 hectares of mineral rights to help make this park expansion a reality. The expansion of the park will help the province meet its biodiversity and conservation goals in this culturally and ecologically significant area. This represents a significant success for Indigenous communities, industry and Albertans.”

Rob Broen, president and CEO, Athabasca Oil Corporation

Albertans can provide their feedback on the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland through a public survey, which will be available online until March 15.

Quick facts  

  • Kitaskino means "our land" in Cree and Nuwenëné means “our land” in Dene.
  • In 2019, the Government of Alberta established the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland – over 160,000 hectares of land just south of Wood Buffalo National Park.
  • The expanded area is located between the Birch River Wildland Provincial Park and existing Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland, south of Wood Buffalo National Park.
  • Almost all of the proposed expansion overlaps with woodland caribou habitat.
  • The expansion area overlaps a small portion of the Ronald Lake bison herd range.
  • Both woodland caribou and wood bison are identified as species at risk.