Thaidene Nëné makes New York Times list of travelers

Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories is among the destinations listed in 52 Places, the New York Times 2022 compilation of world attractions to see.

Each year, the newspaper selects 52 places considered to be the most attractive to potential travelers. This task has been complicated since 2021 by the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For 2022, the newspaper said it chose destinations “where travelers can be part of the solution.”

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Outlining this year’s picks, The Times wrote, “Our annual list of destinations to visit this year examines places where visitors can be part of the solution to issues like overtourism and climate change.

Entrances range from the Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan to the city of Cleveland, Ohio, and the Red Sea Mountain Trail in Egypt to all of places like Sierra Leone, Slovenia and Greenland.

Three Canadian destinations are selected. Vancouver Island and Fogo Island of Newfoundland and Labrador join Thaidene Nëné.

About Thaidene Nëné, the newspaper states that the park reserve (and the indigenous protected area at large) “sets a new precedent by including indigenous peoples in the management and oversight of the park.”

The protected area has created tourism jobs despite the pandemic that suspended almost all visits to the NWT by non-residents, and indirectly triggered initiatives like the creation of locally made log furniture.

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“Economic opportunities derived from the park, like guided tours and cultural heritage tours, flow to these communities,” the Times says of places like Łútsël K’é.

“Visitors can walk along the trails of the Dene ancestors, paddle the many creeks and waterfalls of the eastern arm of Great Slave Lake, fish for lake trout and arctic grayling for nearly 24 hours of light in the summer,” and camping at the transition point between the subarctic and arctic environments.

The entry is written by Peter Kujawinski, a freelance journalist and regular contributor to the New York Times who previously served as a US diplomat, including tenure as US consul general in Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

Kujawinski, along with Yellowknife photographer Pat Kane, documented for the same newspaper last year the Northwest Territories’ attempts to protect Indigenous elders from the onset of the pandemic.

At present, tourism in Thaidene Nëné is virtually at a standstill other than exploration by residents of the NWT.

Restrictions on tourism in the territory have remained in place for almost two years. Every time the government of the Northwest Territories has come close to easing these restrictions, a new variant of the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19 – first Delta, then Omicron – has struck.

Last month, the territorial government began examining whether proof of vaccination could fully reopen the territory to tourism without waiting for the number of Covid-19 cases to decline across Canada, but an outbreak caused by Omicron in the Territories. Northwest has since suspended this work.

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About Lucille Thompson

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