Vast forest along Manitoba-Ontario border inches closer to UNESCO recognition
An attempt backed by millions of dollars in public funds to get UNESCO recognition for an extensive stretch of boreal forest along the Manitoba-Ontario boundary appears to be making steps forward. (International Boreal Conservation Campaign, Matt Medler)
WINNIPEG -- A vast stretch of boreal forest along the Manitoba-Ontario boundary has moved one step closer to international recognition.
Canada's effort to have Pimachiowin Aki -- an Ojibwa phrase that translates as "the land that gives life" -- is being recommended for designation as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The decade-long, multimillion-dollar effort was dealt a setback in 2013, when two UNESCO advisory bodies said it was unclear whether the area is unique.
The provincial and federal governments submitted a new bid with more information, and the advisory bodies are now recommending the bid be accepted.
The final decision will be made at a UNESCO world heritage committee meeting in July in Turkey.
Ontario and Manitoba have spent millions of dollars in preparing the UNESCO bid and protecting the area, which is half the size of New Brunswick.
UNESCO recognizes more than 900 places around the world as world heritage sites -- everything from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to Red Bay, a small former whaling community in Labrador.
Former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger has said getting the designation for Pimachiowin Aki will help tourism and make it easier to protect the boreal forest from over-development.