The completion of the Misinipiy Integrated Land Use Plan, developed in partnership by the Ministry of Environment and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, was celebrated in La Ronge. Environment Minister Dustin Duncan and Chief Tammy Cook-Searson marked the occasion with a ceremony held in conjunction with Treaty Days in the community. The plan provides a framework to guide land and resource management decisions for more than three million hectares of forest land in northern Saskatchewan.
The plan includes provisions for further detailed planning respecting the Churchill River and for the designation of approximately 365,000 hectares of new protected areas, adding to the province’s Representative Areas Network. One of these, Pink Lake, at 333,000 hectares, will be the largest provincially protected area in Saskatchewan. Ministry officials have already initiated work on developing regulations that will formally protect these areas under The Ecological Reserves Act.
“The Misinipiy plan is designed to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability,” Duncan said. “The plan addresses issues important to residents, interest groups, industry and government, while balancing ecological, cultural, economic and social values as land use decisions are made.”
The Misinipiy planning area includes much of the traditional territory of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, extending from the Wapawekka Hills in the southeast, Besnard Lake in the southwest, near Wathaman Lake in the northeast and northwest to the Key Lake mine. Nearly 10,000 people live in the area, many of whom are band members.
“The Misinipiy Integrated Land Use Plan is a legacy document that speaks to the commitment of the Elders and membership of Lac La Ronge Indian Band,” Chief Cook-Searson said. “Since the inception of the document in April 1999, there have been a number of key people involved through the Lac La Ronge Indian Band Working Group and a number of Elder’s gatherings essential to the process.
As stewards of the land, Lac La Ronge Indian Band will continue working together with the Ministry of Environment on the implementation of this living document.”