The archaeological sites in the area demonstrate some of the earliest human habitation in North America.
The site is protected by the Yukon Wildlife Ordinance and Migratory Birds Convention Act. It was identified as part of the International Biological Program inventory, and was designated a wetland of international importance via the Ramsar Convention on May 24, 1982.
The habitat is an important breeding area for aquatic mammals and peregrine falcons, and is also used for summer moulting by waterfowl, as well as an autumn staging site for various species of birds. For this reason, it is considered an Important Bird Area.
Per the Vuntut Gwitchin Final Agreement, the southern extent of Old Crow Flats (approximately 7,785 km²) is classified as a Special Management Area by the Yukon Government; the northern portion is now part of Vuntut National Park. Old Crow Flats contains more than 2,000 ponds and marshes,
"The area includes some of the richest archaeological sites of early human habitation in North America". More than 20,000 fossils have been collected in the area, including some never reported in North America.