Northwest Territories

With pristine lakes and wind-swept landscapes, Canada’s Northwest Territories cover some of the most remote places on Earth. 

Located north of the 60th parallel, this beautifully austere place—home to Indigenous communities for thousands of years—often appears endless and without boundaries. 

But change has arrived. 

Increasing demands for oil, natural gas, electricity, diamonds and uranium are driving new exploration and development. 

At the same time, modern technologies are now making it possible to access places once reachable only by canoe, dog sled or on foot. 

In the face of this challenge, the Conservancy is a valuable resource for a First Nation-led initiative to create protected areas that balance nature, local people’s needs, and the realities of development.

Modern Science Meets Ancient Traditions 

When looking at aerial photos and maps of the Northwest Territories, you see a landscape that is carved up by an intricate system of new diamond and uranium mines, the proposed Mackenzie Gas Pipeline and the Alberta Tar Sands

The landscape’s rich resource potential will increasingly cast a spotlight on a place looking to balance the world’s energy and mineral consumption with the realities of environmental sustainability. 

The Conservancy is a valuable resource for the Indigenous-led Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy, which aims to create a network of protected areas in concert with planned oil, gas, mineral and pipeline construction. 

For First Nation leaders, it’s a chance to to blend cutting-edge conservation science like the Conservancy’s mapping and planning expertise with indigenous knowledge of migration patterns, wildlife distribution and more. 

A Way Forward

Canada’s Northwest Territories are at the crossroads between opportunity and risk. 

The Conservancy is engaged in many important decisions about the future of this remarkable landscape

  • We’re supporting First Nation efforts to establish Thaidene Nene “Land of our Ancestors” national park reserve — a protected area that stems mining development on 8.3 million acres. We’re contributing conservation and climate change expertise, and sharing scientific tools to ensure sustainable development that balances the needs of nature and people. 
  • A new educational initiative supported by the Conservancy and led by the community of Lustel K’e is empowering youth to steward their land and natural resources by building educational capacity, creating opportunities for hands-on field experiences, and supporting the pursuit of educational and career goals.

Inspired? Your support can help determine this region’s fate and shape a future that balances the needs of people and nature.


Stay Updated

Learn about the places you love and find out how you can help by signing up for Nature eNews.

I'm already on the list Read our privacy policy

Thank you for joining our online community!

We'll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates, and exciting stories.