The highway that runs through Wood Buffalo National Park and connects Hay River to Fort Smith is set to receive a major upgrade thanks to new funding announced by the federal government.
Catherine McKenna, the minister for Parks Canada, announced the funding at Yellowknife’s Greenstone Building Tuesday.
Altogether, the Government of Canada will invest $21.6 million in Highway 5 to pave a 64-kilometer stretch of gravel road.
The investment is part of over $23 million announced Tuesday for various projects at Parks Canada sites across the Northwest Territories.
“We want to make sure we leave a legacy of a cleaner environment and future for our children,” said Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod.
The federal government has committed to investing $191 million in Parks Canada this year to improve tourism and highway assets in several of its national parks.
McKenna, who also participated in a climate change gathering in Yellowknife Monday, spoke positively about some of the natural treasures the territory has to offer.
“This is a land of infinite lakes, majestic mountains, magical northern lights and iconic wildlife,” she said.
“You could spend your whole life wandering Wood Buffalo National Park – North America’s largest protected area – and see things you’ve only read about.
“These investments will provide opportunities for Canadians to learn about and experience the diverse cultures and landscapes of the North.”
Wood Buffalo is the only national park in the NWT with road access.
McKenna also announced funding to upgrade the Salt River Bridge on Highway 59 and $115,000 to repair docks and boardwalks at the Pingo Canadian Landmark, a protected area near Tuktoyaktuk.