Recreation Management Planning

Recreation management planning is a process used to inform future GNWT decisions about:

  • recreation opportunities that will be provided or encouraged in the study area
  • management of the area’s recreation resources and activities
  • integration of recreational use with environmental and cultural values and other land uses

Recreation management planning is not comprehensive land use planning.The process will take into account all land uses but is focused on recreation management and not on creating outcomes for other land uses.

By defining and understanding the types and diversity of recreational opportunities today and in the future, land and program managers will be able to design strategies to manage recreational use consistent with the desired recreation settings and experiences. These strategies will also better harmonize recreational uses in the area with the other land uses and values of the particular study area.

Why make a recreation management plan?

As recreational use in the study area increases, so do competing land uses, ecological and cultural effects, and safety concerns. This leads to demands for:

  • increasing fair access to quality recreation opportunities, including cabin lot leasing opportunities
  • ensuring public access to high value recreational sites
  • protecting the environment
  • addressing unauthorized use
  • preventing interference with traditional and cultural practices
  • integrating recreation values with resource exploration and development activities
  • ensuring sufficient recreation infrastructure

One of the goals in the GNWT's Recreational Leasing Management Framework is to support recreation management planning in priority areas. While the end result of a specific planning exercise will be a recreation management plan that advises the government, those plans would be expected to support the broader outcomes articulated below.  

  • NWT residents have the opportunity to participate in planning processes for priority areas. 
  • Recreational use, demands, and opportunities in priority areas are well understood.
  • Land uses and values in priority areas are well understood and considered in decisions about recreational uses.   
  • Management strategies support the recreation needs and desires of NWT residents in priority areas. 
  • Infrastructure needs to support recreational activities in priority areas are understood.
  • Future priority areas are identified.   

What do recreation management plans include?

Typically recreation management plans include:

  • types of recreation opportunities desired in the area, including where the GNWT may offer more cabin lot leases and where it should avoid issuing them
  • strategies and actions to address area-wide issues like waste management, public education, and parking
  • strategies and actions to address sub-area issues, such as at popular recreation sites

What recreation management planning processes are underway?

Currently, there is a recreation management plan being developed for the public lands around Yellowknife, Ndılǫ, and Detah, an area being called the Yellowknife periphery area.

The Department has also completed initial community engagement for the Dolomite Lake (Airport Lake) area near Inuvik in early 2018. The findings from these engagements will help inform the Dolomite Lake Recreation Management Plan. What We Heard reports for both February and March engagements are available.

As noted in the Recreational Leasing Management Framework, the GNWT will be working on identifying other priority areas in the Northwest Territories that require recreation management planning to address existing or anticipated land use conflicts and opportunities related to recreational use of the land by the public.