A new snowmobile trail is snaking into the heartland of the Innu territory and bisects the winter range of the threatened Mealy Mountain caribou herd.

Already almost half-built, work on the 250-km Ptarmigan Trail stopped in mid-March when the Innu obtained a temporary injunction halting further construction. The Innu were never consulted on the trail, despite significant impacts on the land, wildlife and Innu way of life in an area of great spiritual significance. They are seeking a full judicial review of the federal government’s decision to fund $600,000 of the project.

“Obtaining this interim order is a huge victory for the Innu people, but it is only the first step for us in putting a stop to this insane project,” said Daniel Ashini of the Innu Nation.

The Ptarmigan Trail is intended to link Goose Bay to the South Coast, running through the Kenamu River valley and east across the southern slopes of the Mealy Mountains to Paradise River and Sandwich Bay. It would run through the heart of the proposed Mealy Mountains National Park.

Ashini said the trail will open up thousands of square kilometres of the Innu homeland to exploitation not only by snowmobile users, but by cabin developers and non-Innu hunters.