Have Your Say: Wek’èezhı̀ı Interim Boreal Caribou Range Plan

News Releases

Yellowknife — August 18, 2021

A draft interim range plan for boreal caribou in the Wek’èezhı̀ı region has been released for public comment.

This plan -- developed as a commitment under the environmental assessment for the Tłı̨chǫ All-Season Road -- incorporates Indigenous knowledge, lived experience, and scientific data to define which habitat is most important to caribou in the area. 

The range plan aims to answer some key questions within the Wek’èezhı̀ı region:

  • Which areas are most important to the caribou?
  • Where are there current development projects or interests?
  • Where are the areas of higher resource development potential?
  • What existing land protections are already in place?

This plan proposes management classes for these areas – meaning the level of protection needed in each area to conserve caribou, balance development needs and define strategies for dealing with natural disturbances.

This is in-line with the Boreal Caribou Range Planning Framework – which forms the foundation for five regional range plans to meet the need to recover and preserve boreal caribou in the NWT.  The completion of these five regional range plans are recommended in both the NWT and national recovery strategies and were a commitment in the section 11 agreement between the GNWT and the Government of Canada.

The public are invited to share their comments by email, phone or mail on the draft document through October 1, 2021.

Feedback will be collected and shared with the Wek’èezhı̀ı Renewable Resource Board before they begin their assessment of the plan in November 2021.

The interim plan will be in effect through at least 2023 – when the regional range planning process for boreal caribou in the NWT is expected to be completed.


“Protecting and conserving caribou is a critical priority for this government. With the values and perspectives of the region considered, I am confident this will be a solid foundation for managing caribou habitat in the area. We will continue to work with our partners to develop a final regional plan that will support healthy boreal caribou within Wek’èezhı̀ı.”

- Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources

Quick facts

The three management classes used are:

  • Basic – Development can proceed under normal conditions; fire management proceeds as normal
  • Enhanced – Development is more carefully managed; additional fire prevention activities are considered
  • Intensive – New habitat disturbances in the area are limited as much as possible; key patches of caribou habitat receive heightened priority when firefighting efforts are underway, when and where possible

The GNWT worked with a number of organizations to develop the draft plan:

  • Tłı̨chǫ Government
  • North Slave Métis Alliance
  • Yellowknives Dene First Nation
  • Wek’èezhı̀ı Renewable Resources Board
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • All GNWT departments

The Tłı̨chǫ Government and North Slave Métis Alliance authored sections of the plan detailing how they documented Indigenous knowledge of boreal caribou to support development of the plan. 

Related links


For media requests, please contact:

Jessica Davey-Quantick
Communications Planning Specialist
Environment and Natural Resources
Government of the Northwest Territories