Wildlife Management Area
Kaskatamagan Wildlife Management Area is located between the Nelson River and the Ontario border, along the Hudson Bay coast. The area is accessible by air or sea. Overland routes are limited in summer, but accessible by snowmobile in winter.
The protected portion of Kaskatamagan Wildlife Management Area is part of the former Cape Tatnam Wildlife Management Area, now renamed and expanded to include lands further inland. It lies within the transition zone between the Taiga boreal forest and Arctic tundra ecoregions, and covers 259,530 hectares. These protected lands are free from logging, mining, hydroelectric development, oil and gas development, and any other activities that could significantly and adversely affect habitat. The total size of the wildlife management area is 558,810 hectares.
Kaskatamagan Wildlife Management Area contains fine sandy beaches, stretching for kilometres. At low tide, brackish tidal mud flats containing very little vegetation extend for many kilometres into Hudson Bay. Inland, the topography is generally flat plains, dominated by wetlands which include peat plateau bogs.
The wildlife management area lies within the traditional territory of Shamattawa First Nation, and within the York Factory First Nation Resource Management Area. The area drained by the Kaskattama River is referred to as Kaskatamagan, as is the traditional camp located at the river mouth. Kaskatamagan is a Cree word meaning ‘the scraping, crunching sound dried meat makes against your teeth when you eat it’. The camp has been used for generations by First Nations and travelers crossing the northern coast on their way to the York Factory trading post.
The area is home to the western Hudson Bay sub-population of polar bear from July to November. It provides habitat for coastal caribou. For a couple of weeks each year, beluga whales, polar bears, and caribou can all be found along the coast at the same time.
Other animals found here include marten, arctic fox, fisher, moose, and black bear. The wildlife management area also provides breeding habitat for significant populations of snow and Canada geese. Osprey, rock and willow ptarmigan, and many migratory bird species, including shorebirds, can be viewed as well. The Kaskattama River mouth is recognized as a globally significant Important Bird Area.
This outstanding, fragile landscape was designated as a wildlife management area to protect the fragile coastal and tundra ecosystems. Additional restrictions on use in the protected area will ensure its natural heritage remains intact for future generations. The protected portion of the wildlife management area is categorized as a World Conservation Union (IUCN) category II, that is, a protected area managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation.