Why Great Bear is Now Even Greater

Great Bear Lake is already famed among fishermen, but now a local First Nation is ensuring that a new type of tourist will soon be visiting Canada’s biggest lake.

Two peninsulas on Great Bear, covering 5,565 square kilometers, were designated as a national historic site in 2009. At that time, Parks Canada and the community of Délįne signed a first-of-its-kind deal where the sites – called Saoyú (saw-you-eh), or Grizzly Bear Mountain, and ʔehdacho (aa-daa-cho), or Scented Grass Hills – will be co-managed by the feds and the local First Nation.

Parks Canada is working with Délįne to develop visitor opportunities in the community and for Saoyú-ʔehdacho, including a new office and interpretative space in town. Parks Canada staff offer interpretative programming with local community members to teach visitors about the cultural importance of Saoyú-ʔehdacho.

“We’re developing programs so we can share our traditional areas,” says Peter Menacho, president of the Délįne Land Corporation and a key player behind the deal. “It’s the history, the storytelling, the landscape, the renewable resources, the burial grounds, the hunting, fishing and camping sites. This isn’t just for our community to benefit. Tourism is key.”

For more on national parks and historic sites in the Northwest Territories, explore how to pick your park.