What is a Protected Area?

At a minimum, protected areas prohibit, through legal means, logging, mining (including aggregate extraction), and oil, petroleum, natural gas or hydro-electric development. Protected areas with this minimum level of protection still remain open for activities such as hunting, trapping or fishing. As well, protected areas respect First Nation's rights and agreements such as the Manitoba Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement.

Areas that contain rare or sensitive habitats can be set aside as ecological reserves with greater restrictions on uses and activities so that the natural region features for which they are set aside endure for future generations. National Parks also have high levels of protection based on federal legislation, mandates and agreements. Similarly, private landowners using Conservation Agreements can protect their land to these levels of protection if they wish.

Other activities that significantly and adversely affect habitat are also excluded in certain circumstances. Activities such as intensive agriculture, urban or major recreational developments are avoided when establishing protected areas.