June 19, 2006

Manitoba's Hayes River designated part of Heritage Rivers System

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA-The Hayes River in northeastern Manitoba has been designated as part of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS). The Hayes is one of Canada's most unspoiled and historically significant waterways, and is the longest naturally flowing river in Manitoba. The CHRS designation is for the entire 600-kilometre fur trading route used by the Hudson Bay Company between the Norway House national historic site, near Lake Winnipeg, and the York Factory national historic site, on Hudson Bay. It encompasses a portion of the east channel of the Nelson River as well as the Echimamish and Hayes Rivers, cutting through a pristine landscape of granite outcrops and boreal forest in the south and traversing the Precambrian Shield before it makes its way through ancient marine sediments and taiga forest in the north to reach the bay. The river also passes through the traditional territory of four First Nations: the Norway House Cree, the Bunibonibee Cree, the Shamattawa and the York Factory Cree. The Hayes River fur trade route is part of their history, as well as a current transportation route along which people continue to practice traditional activities such as hunting, fishing and trapping. At a ceremony unveiling a commemorative CHRS plaque, Manitoba Conservation Minister Stan Struthers also released the management plan for the Hayes River. The plan, required to achieve Canadian Heritage River status, presents an integrated resource management program that will deal with water quality, public awareness, natural and cultural heritage and recreational use. Three other CHRS plaques for the Hayes River will be installed at prominent locations along the river (Norway House, Oxford House and York Factory) this summer.

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