Parks Canada began official consultation with the Williams Treaties First Nations regarding wild rice harvesting in the fall of 2015. To date, we have developed a draft Terms of Reference to govern the consultations. Discussions with the First Nations have been very productive.
Parks Canada is aware that wild rice is present in different areas of the Trent-Severn Waterway, and therefore the scope of these on-going discussions could expand to include other parts of the waterway as necessary. At this time, the lakes being considered include Pigeon Lake, Rice Lake, Chemong Lake, and Buckhorn Lake.
Through consultation with the First Nations, and open dialogue with shoreline property owners and communities, Parks Canada hopes to build a better understanding of the environmental, recreational, and economic impacts of wild rice and its harvest, including the culturally significant and spiritual importance to First Nations. Parks Canada appreciates the on-going support of the Williams Treaties First Nations, the municipalities, federal and provincial partners, the conservation authorities and the shoreline property owners, all of whom are working with us to find a balanced approach to the management of wild rice on the Trent-Severn Waterway.
A series of regular meetings is scheduled with the Williams Treaties First Nations (Wild Rice) Working Group throughout the spring. Current focus is on the environmental aspects of wild rice, and determining if scientific research is required to support the on-going discussions.