Parks Canada pays out $3M in settlements to 2 N.W.T. outfitters
Tourism and outfitter licences ended after Nahanni National Park Reserve expanded in 2009
Parks Canada shelled out more than $3 million in legal settlements to two Northwest Territories outfitters last year.
The federal government publishes its legal claims and settlements every year — its figures for 2015 show Parks Canada reached a settlement with Nahanni Butte Outfitters for $1.15 million and Ram Head Outfitters for $2 million for "ending a tourism licence and outfitter licence."
Both companies are hunting guides that operate in the Northwest Territories.
Nahanni Butte Outfitters said it received money from Parks Canada as part of a settlement after its licence to conduct guided hunting tours in Nahanni National Park Reserve was cancelled when the reserve expanded in 2009.
In all, four commercial outfitters were compensated due to the Nahanni expansion and the creation of the Naats'ihch'oh National Park Reserve in 2012, according to Parks Canada.
Sport hunting is not permitted in national parks or national park reserves.
"In creating new national parks, Parks Canada negotiates, on a willing seller – willing buyer basis, with such companies for the purpose of ending their activity in new national parks," Parks Canada said in an email.
Jim Lancaster, one of the owners of Nahanni Butte Outfitters, said his company had been in a legal battle with Parks Canada for the last three years trying to get compensation for lost revenues.
Lancaster said his company has taken a financial hit since guided tours ended.
On average, he said one dall sheep hunt brought in $20,000 to his company and also supported the local tourism industry in the region.
"Pretty hard to get a canoer to spend that kind of money," Lancaster said.