Approved park planning policy (PM 11.02.03) directs that a park management plan is required for Wabakimi and Kopka River Provincial Parks to determine policy for the protection, planning, development, management and operation of the parks. The management plan will be developed recognizing the significance of Wabakimi and Kopka River Provincial Parks as protected areas within the Ontario Provincial Park system, but will also ensure that the relationship of the parks to the surrounding area is properly considered. The plan is a dynamic tool, looking forward for a 20-year period, with review as necessary.
The terms of reference cover a consolidated planning process for Wabakimi and Kopka River Provincial Parks. These parks share a common theme in that they are physically and administratively connected to each other and have similar patterns of use and resource management issues. One park management plan will be produced for the two parks.
The original Wabakimi Provincial Park was regulated in 1983 as a 155,000 hectare wilderness park. In 1992, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), through the Wabakimi Park Boundary Committee, initiated a review of the park's size, shape and representation characteristics. This review resulted in a 1997 park expansion of over 737,000 hectares . The expanded Wabakimi Park, at 892,061 hectares, provides protection and representation of a wide range of natural and cultural heritage resources, as well as opportunities for wilderness recreation. Wabakimi incorporates a substantial area of prime woodland caribou habitat, representative landforms from the days of glacial Lake Agassiz, a number of pictograph sites, remote tourism opportunities including excellent fly-in hunting and fishing and an enticing variety of scenic canoe routes.
Kopka River Provincial Park stretches approximately 160 kilometres east from Brightsand River Provincial Park to Highway 527. The existing waterway class park was regulated in 1989, and has an area of 16,200 hectares. In 1999, Ontario's Living Legacy Land Use Strategy recommended that two areas, constituting 3879 hectares, be added to Kopka River Provincial Park. These additions consolidate the park landbase and complete the park and waterway link to Lake Nipigon. Regulation of the additions is scheduled for the 2003/04 fiscal year. The Kopka River is an attractive canoe route adjacent to the southern limits of Wabakimi Provincial Park. Other park features include historical sites, dramatic topography, caribou values and remote tourism operations.
Wabakimi and Kopka River Provincial Parks incorporate the traditional use areas of several First Nation and Aboriginal communities. The development of the park management plan will recognize and respect Aboriginal and treaty rights.