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Nopiming

Nestled on the border of Manitoba and Ontario, Nopiming; meaning “Entrance to the Wilderness” in the Anishinabe (Saulteaux, Obijew) language is a stretch of protected provincial forest inhabited by Indigenous peoples for at least the last 8000 years, spaning over 1400 square kilometers. A forest experiencing a rebirth after fire roared through it in 1983. The heat of the fire melted resin that sealed the seeds of the Jack Pines. These cones burst open instantaneously, and the scorched firey winds dispersed their seeds. The ground, hot from the shade deprivation, allowed plants to germinate, encouraging growth and starting the next chapter in the forests life.

Exposed granite, once an ancient mountain range akin to the Rocky Mountains, have eroded to edges and hills by the persistent movement of wind and water. These edges sculpt the abundance of lakes, rivers and rapids that populate the park. This new-growth forest inhabits more than just abundant wildlife, it harbours breathtaking prairie scenery and an auditory experience caused by the crashing rapids in the distance.

Nopiming Provincial Park is a protected space, and needs to continue being protected. As recently as Spring, 2018, it has fallen victim to wide-scale destructive industrial activities that threaten not just Nopiming, but all protected spaces. These spaces, already minuscule when compared to the province, should not dwindle further in size. Nopiming and other protected spaces are protected for a reason; to allow nature to flourish with the absence of human industry and corporate profiteering. Parks like Nopiming are essential to the provincial ecosystem, and provide retrospection dating back to our origins as a country.