Supporting resiliency and refuge 

around Bistcho Lake.

The Dene Tha’ First Nation has long been connected to Bistcho Lake and the surrounding region.

Just as it’s an important ecological region, it continues today to be an important cultural, spiritual, and harvesting place for the community. 

About Bistcho Lake

Bistcho Lake is known to Dene Tha’ as Mbecho. Many Elders point to Mbecho as an ancestral place to which all living Dene Tha’ have a connection.

Surrounding the lake, there are thousands of hectares of wetlands, peatlands, boreal forest and the most extensive undisturbed lacustrine habitat in Alberta.

Bistcho Guardians on CBC The National

The Bistcho woodland caribou herd is unlikely to be self-sustaining. Dene Tha’ First Nation and our Parters are determined to save this part of Dene Tha’ and Canadian cultural heritage. Dene Tha’ First Nation Land Guardians and our partners spoke to CBC about caribou monitoring at Bistcho Lake, and how Indigenous Knowledge is vital to their protection.

 Click below to watch the CBC The National piece on Dene Tha’s efforts at Bistcho Lake.

Exciting News for Bistcho

This summer, Dene Tha’ First Nation and a myriad of partners travelled to Bistcho Lake to continue and expand our wildlife monitoring programs, engage in traditional activities, and discuss the future of the Bistcho Lake IPCA. To read about the trip from the perspective of some of our partners, click the buttons below!


Protecting the Bistcho Lake region

The Dene Tha’ First Nation are restoring balance in the Bistcho Lake area and working towards long-term conservation. Every project aims to protect the heritage and ecological integrity, while fostering deeper connections with the lands.

Creating an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area

An Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area can formally conserve and protect part of the Dene Tha’ traditional territory. The Dene Tha’ First Nation has a plan to create an IPCA in the Bistcho Lake region and share our knowledge through cooperative management.

Our Projects

Environmental Monitoring

Our innovative environmental monitoring program collects, manages and documents traditional and western scientific knowledge through a mobile app.

Caribou Monitoring

We monitor caribou and other wildlife in the Bistcho region with a network of remote cameras. The locations of the cameras have been determined based on traditional knowledge of historical caribou behaviour.

Guardians Program

Guardians are the eyes and ears on the ground that monitor, protect and foster connections between the lands and people within and beyond the community.

Learn more about our projects.