Northwest Territories

In the Northwest Territories, more than 12 million hectares (8.9% of the territories as of 2010) are designated as protected. Environment Canada maintains 5 protected areas in the Northwest Territories, all Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBSs), comprising more than 2 million hectares of the territories' protected lands and waters. Although currently there are no National Wildlife Areas (NWAs), a number of candidate sites are under evaluation.

Further information on candidate protected areas is available on the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy website.

Map of Environment Canada's Protected Areas in the Northwest Territories

Map of protected areas in the Northwest Territories. (5) Kendall Island MBS (1) Anderson River Delta MBS (4) Cape Parry MBS (2) Banks Island No. 1 MBS (3) Banks Island No. 2 MBS

Long description for the Map

Map showing the number of Environment Canada's protected areas in the Northwest Territories – 5 MBSs.

Learn more about Northwest Territories...

List of Protected Areas in Northwest Territories

The tables below contain information about the NWAs and MBSs shown on the map above. In addition to the name, year of establishment, and size of each protected area, the tables indicate how these sites fit into national and international networks of conservation areas. The following entities may be noted:

Ramsar: Wetland of International Importance

Important Bird Area (IBA)

Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN)

Biosphere reserve of the The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB)

Migratory Birds Sanctuary

Anderson River Delta MBS picture

Photo: Bob Bromley © Enviornment Canada
Anderson River Delta MBS

Northwest Territories
MBS NameYear establishedSize in hectares
Anderson River Delta MBS1961118,402
Banks Island No. 1 MBS19612,019,901
Banks Island No. 2 MBS196114,302
Cape Parry MBS1961227
Kendall Island MBS196161,241

Access and Permitting

Although access to NWAs is not restricted, the primary purpose of these areas is to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats, and therefore most NWAss are not equipped with facilities to accommodate public visitation. Unless otherwise posted, all recreational activities are prohibited within NWAs.

Although access to most MBSs is not restricted either, the primary intent of these sanctuaries is to protect migratory birds, and therefore hunting, as well as disturbing or molesting migratory birds, their eggs, nests or habitat, is prohibited.

A permit may be obtained from the Minister of the Environment authorizing the conduct of certain activities in an NWAs or MBS, if the Minister or delegate is of the opinion that the proposed activity:

  • will not interfere with the conservation of wildlife; or
  • is consistent with the purpose for which the protected area was established; and
  • is consistent with the management plan for the protected area.

Contact Information

Additional information on entry, prohibited activities and permits in Environment Canada's protected areas is provided in the Management and Activities web pages of the NWA and MBS. For more information on Environment Canada's protected areas in the Northwest Territories, please contact the regional Environment Canada office:  

Environment Canada - Prairie and Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas & Stewardship
Western Arctic Unit
P.O. Box 2310
5019 52nd Street,4th Floor
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
X1A 2P7
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca

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