Manitoba Government News Release:
Information Services, Room 29, Legislative Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0V8 Telephone: (204) 
945-3746 Fax: (204) 945-3988

October 05, 2001



Premier Gary Doer and James Richardson, representing the Nature Conservancy of Canada, today officially opened Pembina Valley Provincial Park, a 180-hectare/440-acre natural area in south central Manitoba.

"I am pleased to open this new provincial park for all Manitobans and visitors to experience as part of our province’s wonderful array of outdoor venues," said Doer. "It is the result of a co-operative effort by landowners Henry and Elma Martens, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Manitoba Conservation."

"This park will provide visitors with the opportunity to explore the many hiking trails and enjoy the scenic and wildlife beauty, while preserving the area’s natural features," said Conservation Minister Oscar Lathlin. "This is the first park designated under the new Provincial Parks Act that adds to Manitoba’s network of protected areas."

Lathlin added that today’s announcement continues the province’s three-year action plan for developing protected areas. The plan identifies target areas such as the creation of new park and ecological reserves, continued protection of Wildlife Management Areas, protection of new lands within agro-Manitoba, and the establishment of marine protected areas.

Residents Henry and Elma Martens wanted people to have a greater understanding and appreciation of the unique area. In the late 1990s, they approached the provincial government with a proposal to create a provincial park. The provincial government recognized the value in protecting this land and the Nature Conservancy of Canada became involved in this important conservation initiative to assist with the purchase of the land.

James Richardson, chair of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Manitoba Region, said, "This important initiative preserves and protects for all time some of the unique features of the Pembina Valley. Future generations will come to know what is possible when a caring community works together to make a difference in protecting our natural areas."

The site is located in the rural municipalities of Stanley and Pembina. The Pembina Valley Wildlife Management Area and the Pembina Valley Camp border the park.

The area is characterized by the valley's steep slopes, which were carved out of the soft shale bedrock of a glacial spillway, and features ridges of oak and aspen trees. Manitoba Conservation has identified 16 rare plant species in the Pembina Valley area including False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa), a shrub with branching stems and member of the pea family.

"This park is an example of the government’s commitment to work with individuals and other agencies to increase Manitoba’s protected areas," said Doer.

Pembina Valley Provincial Park is Manitoba's 75th provincial park. Provincial parks contribute 1.8 million hectares to the network of protected areas set aside across Manitoba. Protected areas comprise 70 per cent of the total area of provincial parks. The last provincial park was opened in 1999.

Manitoba's commitment to establish a network of protected areas began in 1990, when the province became the first jurisdiction in Canada to commit to World Wildlife Fund Canada's Endangered Spaces Campaign.

The first phase of the new park, which includes hiking trails and picnic shelters, is now open to the public. Next year, directional signage will be added to complete the park site.

More information on Manitoba’s provincial parks is available by calling 1-800-214-6497 or at this Web site:

- 30 -