The Parks Canada zoning system should be respected and used as a management tool to ensure that nature has space but also to accommodate people. The intent of zoning is to define areas within each park where minimal interference with nature will occur, while allowing more use in areas that are better able to sustain this. Designating zones 1 and 2 as legislated wilderness could help prevent gradual erosion of the wilderness values, as for example in Gros Morne, where public and commercial snowmobiling is now permitted in zone 2 areas and there is even a corridor through a zone 1 area, and resident snowmobiling is permitted in most areas of the park.
How did this happen? Because Parks Canada accepted that the burden of proof was on the agency to show that snowmobiling would “not affect vegetation, wildlife and terrain.” There was no invocation of the precautionary principle, and no adherence to the park zoning system or to Parks Canada’s own Guiding Principles and Operational Policies.
While I acknowledge that the snowmobiling issue has a complex history, and Parks Canada staff face numerous challenges to manage this activity in Gros Morne, it is very disappointing that after a lengthy process, involving a multi-stakeholder working group that resulted in management guidelines for the activity, there is little evidence of monitoring or effective regulation of the activity. Rather than capping this non-conforming activity, it is promoted (if not by Parks Canada, by everyone else, from the tourism industry to local snowmobile organizations).
Furthermore moose hunting is also encouraged (as an attempt to reduce the numbers of this introduced species) and the use of snowmobiles and aircraft is permitted. Why has concern for the forest trumped concern about impacts on wildlife in the remote areas of the park (caribou, Arctic hare, rock ptarmigan)? I fear that the continued moose hunt along with the growth and promotion of snowmobiling in the backcountry will entrench both activities, because of their local appeal and the expectation that businesses should benefit from the increased use of the park in winter.
In summary, while Parks Canada already has the policy to manage parks for ecological integrity, local pressures and lobbying by business interests has led to short-sighted management decisions that compromise the longer term integrity of nature in the parks. There is a need for bold leadership to uphold the vision of a system of protected areas where nature comes first, and enjoyment and appreciation of the parks leaves then unimpaired for future generations.
New Zealand has a Department of Conservation which is required by law to advocate for the protection of natural aeas and biodiversity, both with the public and within government. The Department of Conservation manages national parks in New Zealand. In Canada, government departments involved with trade, resources or finances are advocates for their mandates, but there is no balancing voice in Canada for nature and biodiversity. That voice comes loudly from the public, but behind the closed doors of government offices, the voice for protecting nature is relatively meek. It should not be that way. Parks Canada (and Environment Canada) should be heard as advocates for environmental protection and should work collaboratively with public voices, such as NGOs, to ensure that futue generations of Canadians can enjoy the functioning ecosystems we have now, and ensure that damaged ecosystems have a chnace to be restored.
I am a regular user of the national park system and one area I enjoy is downhill skiing at Sunshine Village. Sunshine should be permitted to proceed with a reasonable expansion of their parking lot at the base of the gondola to improve access for users of the resort. The current system of having to utilize the access road for parking is an unpleasant experience for those who choose to spend their time in the National Park downhill skiing. Until an expansion of the parking lot can be completed, the resort should however be allowed to continue using the access road for overflow parking as removing this option will prevent a number of people from accessing the areas of the national park they enjoy best. I also believe Sunshine should be permitted to proceed with the construction of the Goat's Eye Lodge. Considering the facility that currently exists today, it makes no sense that a purpose built, environmentally sensitive facility would not be approved. There are many ways to enjoy our National Parks and skiing is a favorite of many. Provided these projects are completed in an responsible manner, I fully support and encourage Sunshine Village being permitted to improve their guest experience.
Education is an essential element, not just in increasing visitor awareness and enjoyment, but in conveying important “park messages” to the ever-increasing numbers of Park visitors. These visitors may or may not know what a Canadian national park is all about, what they should expect to find, and how they should behave in it. Yet, the education/interpretation programme appears to be failing in its role and effectiveness, as we witness a growing number of visitors who demonstrate a severe lack of knowledge and respect for wildlife and the natural environment. During the 'Harper Era' interpretation and education slid more and more into entertainment, pure and simple.
So Please: Minister McKenna,
- stop the 'dumbing down' of interpretation!
- restore the Parks Canada interpretive programme to its traditional educational role
- restore the science (natural history) component to it
- hire qualified, knowledgeable interpreters who show deep personal commitment to the Parks Canada mandate of ecosystem protection (i.e. ecological integrity) within our national parks
Due to the extreme flood damage to several of the Rocky Mountain Parks in 2013 there is a backlog of damaged/destroyed infrastructure (campsites, trails, bridges,). Timelines to replace this infrastructure are extensive due to the limited funding that is being applied to park operations and capital spending for the backcountry. I believe funding of capital infrastructure related to flood damage in mountain parks should become a higher priority.
Minister McKenna / Members of the Round Table,
First of all, thank you for the opportunity to submit thoughts on the direction of Parks Canada. I, and other Canadians, greatly appreciate it.
I will keep my message simple: Parks Canada should be refocused on nature conservation first when it comes to our national park management.
It is important to:
1. Stop the expansion of the development footprint in our national parks;2. Re-invest in science and ecological monitoring to guide park management;3. Focus Parks Canada’s visitor experience programs on nature-based education and stewardship; and4. Create more new national parks and national marine conservation areas.
I have concerns with the Lets Talk e-Book for this process. The question: "I would rather have an entertaining experience at a national park, national historic site, or national marine conservation area than learn about nature or history." is very unfortunate. Particularly because nature and history ARE entertaining - that's why people visit parks and historic sites!
Essentially, my comment is: put the environment and protection of ecosystems, biodiversity and watersheds first. Everything else should come second.
Thanks for considering my thoughts.
It is mandatory for the future and health of our National Parks, Marine Protected Areas, and National Historic Sites that we refocus the priorities back to conservation. The previous government has left the Parks Canada Agency gasping for science, and the clock is ticking for this government to reinstate funding and the will to move away from tourism and marketing, and fund the science and conservation required to ensure future generations will be able to experience these places.
Specifically, I call on Minister McKenna and the Parks Canada Agency to:
I believe that Parks Canada has been and continues to be under-staffed with scientific staff and enforcement staff. Much of this was attributed to budget cutbacks of the previous government. This situation needs to be rectified immediately with additional funding to Parks Canada to apply additional human resources to parks planning, management and enforcement of regulations. Maintenance of the status quo will result in additional deterioration of the ecological, cultural and historical resources that Parks Canada has responsibility to manage for conservation, protection and enjoyment by Canadians. There is currently over emphasis on the commercial development opportunities within national parks with little forethought of the ecological consequences of increased human use (e.g. habitat loss, declines in wildlife, vegetation). One aspect of this is to put resources into scientifically credible assessment of cumulative effects .
Dear Members of the Minister's Round Table:I want to add my voice to the many others who are calling on our federal government to makechanges in its approach to our treasured national parks. Or perhaps it would be more accurate tocall for a return to the parks' original mandate and an undoing of recent priorities anddevelopments. Our national parks should be first and foremost for preservation of unique naturalspaces in our country--the focus needs to be on the ecology and natural sustainability of the parks.Recent developments that are designed to attract tourists and generate income need to bestopped and ideally reversed. The parks were never intended to be places of development on thelevel we are now seeing in Jasper and Banff. Even a park such as Elk Island Park has seendramatic changes: they now rent out boats, have closed hiking trails, are spending most of theirrecent influx of funding on infrastructure (roads and parking lots) and buildings. The tourist GlacierSkywalk or walk-out platform at the Columbia Icefields is another example of misspent funding.The parks are our last best attempt to conserve the majestic beauty and diverse ecology of ourrare natural spaces. Please focus on this mission and not on development that is designed togenerate income and bring more and more tourists into our parks in a way that emphasizes theuse of fossil fuels and urban conveniences.Thank You.Sincerely,
Dear Minister Catherine McKenna,
Thank you for the opportunity to express my concerns about Canada's amazing National Parks.
As a frequent visitor to the National Parks in Alberta, I have noticed a shift away from protecting
nature and creating visitor experiences that focus on nature-based education and stewardship.
The emphasis seems to be on enhancing tourism, infrastructure development and revenue
generation. I would like to call the government and your round-table committee to focus again on
stewardship and sustainability so that our national parks remain places of natural beauty and
I appreciate that the government has recently committed to limit development and to refocus on
ecological diversity; I am now calling that you remain committed to acting on those promises.
There has been far too much destruction of pristine land and wild spaces. A very strong example
in Alberta is the mining, including the Cheviot mines, on the eastern slopes of the Rockies. This
land is just outside of the national parks, but the mining has a huge impact on the migration of
animals in that area. In fact, all of the land on the eastern slopes should really be part of Jasper
national park because it's all part of the same ecosystem. Further south there are designated
areas in the eastern Rockies for ATVs and quads, and they have done much damage to the land
in that area. Also, I have witnessed quad destruction in areas that are not designated for ATVs. So
preservation, education, stewardship of resources are the top priorities, and whenever
development and abuse of the land can be curtailed, it should be. One solution could be to create
a sizable buffer zone between these areas and not use the buffer zones as areas where these
activities can take place.
Rather than expanding development within the parks, I encourage the government to respond to
the greater demand within the parks to create more national parks. The vision of preserving places
of ecological diversity and beauty for all Canadians to enjoy needs to be the driving force behind
the decisions the government makes in the National Park system.
Sincerely, Grenada Kuipers-Witten
Please put an immediate stop on all commercial development within parks boundaries: No hotels, roads, tourist information kiosks, stores, parking lots....We need to change how we think about parks: They have an intrinsic value independent of people. We are preserving them because they are important in and of themselves...not for the enjoyment of people. Natural habitats and biodiversity are vital to the health of the planet. They need to be preserved so the planet can (hopefully) survive. I am not suggesting that we ban people from enjoying wilderness areas...but if you want to see wilderness, then you should see wilderness, not a hotel lobby or a parking lot. It is a gross irony that those who profess to be drawn to experiencing Canadian Parks for the wilderness experience are often the ones who seek/demand the amenities of a modern urban experience. Those demands are killing the very thing they profess to cherish!
There are thousands of ways to enjoy wilderness that do not have a negative impact on that wilderness. All human activities within parks boundaries should be REQUIRED to pass that litmus-test. If the tourist throngs are not willing to get out of their cars, then they should go to IMAX and watch a great movie about wilderness. If you want to experience it, then get in a canoe, put on your hiking boots....don't kill what you are claiming to love.
I appreciate the opportunity to express my views about our National Parks, Historic Sites and Marine Conservation Areas in Canada. It is a wonderful and rare thing these days to be asked for your opinion and to be heard. I hope that you do indeed hear me now.
I request to see an increased focus on science-based resource conservation and protection of the treasured ecosystems and wildlife of our national parks and areas. After all, if we do not adequately conserve and protect the natural resources of our spaces, the value of those spaces will decline. The value that visitors will derive from the parks will be degraded, the value of the ecosystem services of the areas will decrease, and the value of the hard work and dedication of Parks employees (specifically those in resource conservation) will be disrespected.
The worth of ecological data appreciates with time and the longer we monitor and collect information about the ecological integrity of our parks and conservation areas, the more beneficial the data become. This allows natural resource managers to make informed, evidence-based decisions about our parks; a critical component to adequately conserving and protecting these prized parcels of land and sea in Canada. As well, this becomes especially significant in light of climate change. We must equip the land and marine area managers with the strongest weapon we have for combating the deleterious effects of a changing climate on our parks - knowledge. Otherwise, they are flying blind.
In recent years, I have been unimpressed with the direction that Parks Canada has taken in terms of funding and resource allocation. As a former Parks Canada employee, I have witnessed a reduction in resource conservation spending and priority, and an emphasis on development and visitor services. While I understand and appreciate that visitors are a key component of the Parks mandate and experience, it is the ecological integrity of the parks themselves that forms the backbone of our parks. Without that, there will be no national parks that exist in the way that we, as Canadians, know and love them - they simply will become amusement parks. I view the degradation of the Parks Canada mandate away from resource conservation as an irresponsible way to manage these precious pieces of land and sea that were knowingly protected by those Canadians who came before us.
I implore you to enhance the Parks Canada mandate towards a more robust protection of our National Parks, Historic Sites and Marine Conservation Areas by emphasizing and funding scientific research and resource conservation initiatives. The very existence of our protected areas, and those organisms that call them home, depends on it.
Thank you very much for your time and for the opportunity to express my concerns and thoughts about our beautiful parks and conservation areas.
Environmentally sustainable lodging in Rogers pass, aesthetically aligned to the surroundings, would enhance winter and summer safety for both backcountry users and park visitors. It would also afford Canadians and international visitors with increased opportunities to engage with Glacier National Park.
Lodging in the pass would enhance the effectiveness of the Rogers pass Discovery Center to act as a hub for backcountry education, avalanche awareness, and awareness of Glacier National Park’s Winter Permit and Access System. In turn, this would enhance safety, help increase compliance with the Parks’ Winter Permit system.
Dear Minister Catherine McKenna,
As part of my contribution to the nationwide public consultation on Park Canada's performance in delivering on its mandate, I would like to urge you strongly to make nature conservation one of the top priorities for national park management.
In particular, I recommend that you:
1. Encourage and facilitate photographers and film makers to cover and share the beauty of Canada's National Parks. A specific proposal would be to set up grants where photographers and film makers cover specific aspects and areas of the parks. Their work is then featured on Parks Canada websites and social media , and they are also obliged to share their work on their own social networks. As a professional photographer, I can't overemphasize the effectiveness of sharing the beauty of our parks. I feel that the images on the Parks Canada websites and social media do not convey the beauty of the parks as effectively as they could. There are so many incredible images of Canada's National Parks out there but they are rarely seen where they matter most , on the Parks Canada websites and social media!
2. Create more national parks and marine conservation areas. One area I would recommend particularly strongly is the Yukon's Peel Watershed, one of Canada's great remaining wildernesses, which is under continual threat of mining explorations and operations.
3. Make relevant nature-based education a central part of the visitor experience, especially climate change.
4. Freeze the development footprint in our national parks, particularly in Banff and Jasper, which see huge numbers of tourists.
5. Invest in science and ecological monitoring to guide park management.
Thank you for your consideration.
Let's create national Terrestrial conservation areas next to our National Parks that are for conservation only. This would relieve conservation pressures on Parks by creating more space for animals away from areas enjoyed by humans. The conservation areas would be for use by indigenous people for traditional uses and for scientific research and endeavour NOT for camping and other high impact human activities. Keep the parks as they are, to educate and enjoy, while creating new grand swaths of conserved areas for wildlife corridors and scientific research. Its a new kind of Parks Canada place. Thanks for the opportunity!
As I have gone to the mountains these last 10 years of my life I have noticed incredible increases in park traffic. I think one of the biggest issues facing the parks these days is lack of development relative to the amount of new visitors the parks see year after year. I believe increasing parking & developing our parks to handle these visitors can benefit the environment by preventing people from parking where they are not supposed to while at the same time not being frustrated by the inability to even see places like Banffs town center due to having too big of crowds. I think every couple of decades we really need to have a second look if we have the ability to handle our current visitor capacity. Considering we cant exactly turn people down from entering the park I think allowing areas like Lake Louis and Banff to develop out a little bit more would give more people visiting the park access while at the same time preventing visitors from making poor choices (like illegal parking) which could end up hurting the environment in the end. Don't get me wrong this is not a PRO DEVELOPMENT idea, People come from all around the world to visit our parks, lets just make sure we can accommodate them comfortably.
National Parks should be first and foremost as a place to preserve biodiversity and protect wildlife. They are NOT theme parks for humans. Therefore no more human development is to be allowed and existing commercial enterprise curtailed.
Point Pelee is an example of parkland returning to a more environmentally positive habitat. For example cars are parked and a shuttle in place.
Our National Parks should be expanded with wildlife corridors considered. Staff need to be in place to protect existing wildlife, especially in our most popular parks.
Minister Catherine McKenna,Thank you for the opportunity to add my support to the government's intention to limit and in some cases halt development in our National Parks and to re-focus Parks Canada mission to preserve and prioritize nature in our National Parks.My family has taken the opportunity to visit national parks from B.C. to Newfoundland and wehope more Canadians will have that opportunity in 2017 with their 150th anniversary ParksCanada pass. This is a great opportunity for Parks Canada to provide visitors programs onnature-based education. It is critical to have science/nature-based decisions govern thepreservation of existing parks and the creation of new national parks. More Canadians need tounderstand the importance of the preservation and conservation of animal and marine habitat forfuture generations - the next 150 years.National Parks are such an important education tool.Sincerely,
Sunshine Village has existed inside of Banff National Park for a number of years. I understand and respect that as it is in a sensitive meadow zone protection of the environment is the number one priority.
However, people will continue to use the park and Sunshine Village for recreation activities and a balance needs to be struck.
The access road to the parking lot is dangerous and is in need of better safety measures. This is made worse with people parking on the road. To me, the most obvious solution would be to allow Sunshine Village to develop a parkade on the existing footprint at the base of the gondola. If done right no trees or vegetation would be impacted by this. Additionally, this would reduce the risk of cars and pedestrians getting into an accident on the road.
there should be more resources for research and to protect the environments and no more "development" for humans. Parks Canada should focus on preserving natural environments, protecting flora and fauna and educating those who use the parks to be more aware of the importance of these natural areas. More areas should be set aside for parks and some should have restricted access to them to protect vulnerable areas. The "enjoyment" by humans of our National Parks should come far behind the "PROTECTION" of them as natural ecosystems
I suspect pockets of protection are not sufficient to ensure long term viability for some species. I have read in the past of the need to create protected corridors connecting larger protected areas. Given the recent report the provided failing grades for some ecosystems in some parks, I'm not sure whether those should be national parks or actual 'no go' zones to reduce human pressures on vulnerable systems.
Climate change will cause plants, animals, birds to shift their habitat. So as time goes on the current parks may no longer protect a representation of Canada's wildlife. It is time to consider expanding current parks beyond their current boundaries to encompass areas that will become the new habitat.
Thank you very much for this opportunity to share our feelings about our national parks. We love our national parks, and feel that they are invaluable to the mental, physical, and spiritual health of Canadians. In the tradition of the great park-inspirer, John Muir, we ask that Parks Canada focus on the conservation of the natural environment in our parks. For Canadian parks to not just continue, but to expand their vital role, they must not become economically driven tourist traps and vacation resorts, but rather sacred places where the natural world can exist as it has for millennia. Places where people can learn about, fall in love with, and figure out how to care for our natural world. This is our challenge. This is your challenge.Thank your for doing this important work.Sincerely,Colleen and John WhiddenMedicine Hat, AB
Our planet is losing wilderness (10% in the past 20 years) and its inhabitants (60% since the 1960s) at a devastating and irrecoverable rate and therefore it is critical to preserve what we have free of further development and human encroachment: https:/www.pri.org/stories/2016-11-26/global-wildlife-populations-continue-their-rapid-decline
The pressure from the U.S. and China on our ecosystems will become immense in the coming decades and centuries as population explosion and global warming collide to stress our water supply and the wilderness that preserves it to the point of collapse. This is already happening in California – in some areas 13% of giant sequoia trees which have stood for over 1000 years are succumbing to the extreme drought: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/dying-california-forests-offer-a-glimpse-into-climate-change-1.3187672
It is close to happening in Alberta – Okotoks is among municipalities which are close to the limit of their water license allotment.
It is imperative that our wilderness, such as it is, be safeguarded from development, whether it be tourism or residential. Everyone (humans and animals) needs that wilderness intact, whether they realize it or not.
We need to make our country wild again. We need to build a wall from from the parasitic business developers of today. They're taking our trees, they're poisoning our air and waters, they're depleting our wildlife populations. We are going to build a wall, a wall of trees of course, and we are going to make greedy business pay for it. If I was elected PM I would be the greatest trees prime minister of all time. I would bring back trees, thousands of trees to this great country. I would restore and bring back the interconnected ecosystems to the Canadian people. Grasslands, wetlands, forests, marine habitat; they've destroyed all that but we're going to bring it back. I will restore hunting grounds and our cultural values of protecting this land which has gone on for thousands of years and if the developers cant get on board we will round them up and put an end to it. We need to limit movement between the borders of the beautiful natural world and the parasitic effects urbanization. We will also expand, for far too long we have been taken advantage of by developers. We need to expand our boarders and take back our country and our nature again. #makecanadawildagain
Something like this may exist already, but...
1. Create a 1-2 day workshop for targeted ages or grades that focuses on preservation, history, and looming outcomes and how to resolve them, etc. Perhaps grade 3 and grade 8?
2. Recruit teachers or carefully selected/vetted volunteers to deliver the program with park staff on a video call to support the teacher or volunteer.
3. Make the program available to ALL schools in the country and maybe incorporate friendly competition between regions?
I've travelled all across Canada visiting our national parks. The one common theme that I find in all of our parks is tourists ignoring the rules and damaging nature in the process. I've seen people feeding wildlife, chopping down trees for firewood, littering, having campfires in extreme dry conditions, parents allowing their children to chase wild animals, people walking their dogs on beaches protected due to endangered Piping Plover nesting grounds, people fishing in waters not for fishing, people trampling protected habitat for selfie photos....etc.etc.etc. As a citizen of Canada I take this personally, these are our parks and they need to be protected. Give park rangers and wardens the incentive to put the protection of the parks and the animals that make them home, above the financial reward the government gets from fees, and camping permits. Park rangers are reluctant to hand out fines for any rule violations in fear of their park being given a bad name and visitation declining as a result. I want to see park rangers handing out fines and removing careless tourists from parks to protect our sacred parks from the idiots who'd destroy them. Give them the power to do this, put financial gain second to preservation of our parks. I've made complaints to park wardens in the past about people destroying habitat etc. the response I always get is "it's a balance". Screw balance when our parks have been destroyed, what are you going to balance? A most recent article put out by the CBC says over 50% of our national parks do not provide suitable habitat for wildlife. That's not balance!
It always seemed surprising to me that while we ban hunting of mammals within our NPs, recreational fishing is often allowed. This seems very inconsistent to me. Freshwater fish populations are also under pressure from ill-advised introductions of competition non-native species, and of course, climate change. We need to provide effective refuges for these animal populations too.
I work in Natural Resources. I am not a student therefor the opportunities available to me are limited. That is the nature of this industry, I understood that when I entered this field.
There is a lot of good research happening in the parks. I have put a lot of time into researching the programs and how the parks structure works. The structures are there, the processes are there for there to be good communication between parks and available to other researchers.
There is however a lack of funding available to process, and document the data the are being collected. For this to be accomplished you would need trained personnel to process the data, to write the reports, to be able to continue the monitoring of species flora and fauna over time. More funding to parks is needed for staffing and research programs to support what is already in place and allow more monitoring of species.
I hope that is forum is not just a political screen. I really hope that there is some good, significant change in how Canada protects and understands the Natural resources that this beautiful country has. They are not infinite and if we continue to exploit them we will suffer for it in the air we breath, the water we drink, the food that we eat.
Re-adjust the way the government spends money and re-allocate more funding to buying and restoring land and return the land to the wild, an easy way to learn more on how to do this effectively is to collaborate with the various conservation/hunting organizations who have been working on this for decades. in addition, Canada has lots of crown land, block this off from any future development. Increase tourist taxes in areas to a minimum of 15%, all of which should actually go into natural expansion to help combat urban expansion every other touristy area around the world jacks up the prices we can do so to. The Prairies are more degraded than the amazon rain forest and as a result we have lost the buffalo, and have seen pronghorn and other populations suffer; we need expansion of nature. A unique idea, although unfeasible in today's world unfortunately, would be to restore millions of acres for hunting/natural enjoyment of the wild, this would vastly lower our ecological foot print and dependence on farming while giving more Canadians the opportunity to obtain clean, environmentally friendly food. We don't need development of nature; please refrain from over populating and over developing the most beautiful land in the world and turning it into another Europe.
As far as education goes, we can educate people on how our current colonial cultural practices are destroying our environment and the natural world. Teach people about indigenous culture; I feel like there is to much emphasis and praise on the history after European contact when in fact it should be the exact opposite. Furthermore, this education should extend beyond national parks and should go into the classrooms of every Canadian child and into the homes of all Canadians whether it be a native or 10th or 1st generation immigrant to this country.
Your carbon tax hating, red neck Albertan
I have grown up in calgary, and since I was 3 or 4 I have been skiing at Sunshine as well as many other Park Ski resorts. Its part of our culture, part of our Heritage. Please make sure this does not change for my incoming sun, who I plan to show the beauty of our parks to. I'm looking forward to the opportunity for him to enjoy Sunshine by learning to ski on the same hills I did.
Parks Canada needs to return to its core values when it comes to administering National Historic Sites, to ensure that the public fully understands and appreciates the reasons for the NHS designation and the role that those sites have played in the development of our nation. The Rideau canal, which is both a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a good example of this; Parks Canada is not operating the canal today as a heritage site.
The previous government imposed an ideology driven policy of revenue generation on Parks Canada, a policy that has no basis in legislation. This policy, which is being done at the expense of heritage, continues to be followed by Parks Canada. The Liberals, during the election, promised to reverse the cuts done to Parks Canada by the Harper government. This has not happened on the Rideau canal, a portion of which runs through the Minister’s riding. Revenue generation remains a well resourced part of the management structure, while heritage is essentially non-existent. The small heritage unit that used to exist for the Rideau canal was “surplussed” in 2012 and has not been restored. This has resulted in significant deficiencies when it comes to the protection of heritage landscapes and public education, both legislated requirements for Parks Canada, part of the Commemorative Integrity of the site. Modern elements being introduced as part of the infrastructure program are eroding the heritage character of the site.
The story of the Rideau canal, the reasons for its NHS designation and its role in the development of early Canada is not being well presented. The present management structure, which does not include a heritage component (no heritage manager or qualified heritage staff), means that Parks Canada doesn’t even have the capacity to develop a robust heritage program, much less implement one. This must change.
The Minister needs to deal with this serious issue, to return Parks Canada back to its legislated requirements. The Parks Canada Agency Act is quite clear: it states that "it is in the national interest ... to ensure the commemorative integrity of national historic sites" and "to maintain ecological and commemorative integrity as a prerequisite to the use of national parks and national historic sites" and "to manage visitor use and tourism to ensure both the maintenance of ecological and commemorative integrity" and that the management plan for the site must ensure "commemorative and ecological integrity."
The Rideau canal is not presently in a state of Commemorative Integrity and the many problems related to this are mirrored to one degree or another in the other National Historic Sites that Parks Canada administers. It’s particularly important in the 21st century to ensure that the public understands and appreciates these elements of our Canadian heritage. As Auditor General Sheila Fraser stated back in 2003 “These places recall the lives and history of the men and women who built this country, and they foster awareness of how Canadian society evolved. They help us to better understand the present and prepare for the future. They contribute in important ways to Canadians' sense of belonging to their community.”
Parks Canada’s own mandate is quite clear: “On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations.” The Minister must ensure that heritage protection and presentation are well resourced elements (qualified staffing and funding), and given management priority, for the Rideau canal and the other National Historic Sites that Parks Canada administers.
I have few ideas in my mind:
Parks Canada puts too much effort into increasing visitation and not enough effort into researching the species and ecosystems that make the parks and sites special. We should be leaders in climatic, ecosystem and species research. Instead we put too much emphasis on getting people to visit parks and sites. It is important to attract people to our parks to facilitate understanding and appreciation, but we also need to be leaders in disseminating information that relates to threats to our protected places.
Dear Minister Catherine McKenna and privileged participants of the Minister's Round Table on Parks Canada:
Every year I mail friends and relatives in Europe calendars featuring photographs of Canada's majestic natural landscapes. I select calendars highlighting Canada's parks specifically and Canada's many heritage landmarks, as well. The stories that these calendars do not tell and what the photographs do not reveal, is just how fragile and threatened our "supernatural" beauty is; how neglected and underfunded our parks are; and just how few park wardens, naturalists and other scientists are left looking after and defending our wilderness areas whether land, or marine environments.
And since climate change is upon us, it is imperative that all wilderness areas, in and outside parks, be protected within the full scope of the law and if the laws aren't enforced, or aren't adequate, then they must be adjusted and expanded to ensure complete protection. In other words, it is not only the parks themselves that must be protected, but also buffer zones around parks must be created and protected. For example, it is no secret that on Vancouver Island — as I'm sure most likely elsewhere — logging companies make bogus apologies for "accidentally" cutting into park boundaries. Great damage has occurred, no compensation is given, life goes on and we are all the poorer for it.
Therefore, there must be a complete return to the respect and authority enjoyed by previous generations of parks' personnel and a return to the importance of parks' ministries. The word Park, must mean Park in the truest sense of the word — parks must remain free from industrial activities! Furthermore, the more famous parks, the ones most easily equated with tourist traps, must have their expansionist activities curtailed, also. While I understand that people need to be able to earn a living from their businesses like hotels and restaurants, even these businesses need to be limited, otherwise the health of entire ecosystems is compromised and irreparable damage is done due to huge influxes of tourists. Another thing that must not be allowed is the construction of new roads into, and highways through, parks. The death tolls on wildlife populations are unforgivable.
Parks are meant to be sanctuaries — oases from all that modern life is, separated as we are from the land. Nature Deficit is a scientifically recognized and accepted syndrome affecting each and every one of us to a lesser or greater degree, but affecting young children the most. Therefore, in addition to the above, the introduction of, or expansion of, wifi into parks must not be allowed to take place. Having all of these "things" in parks defeats the purpose of parks, or being in parks. Parks must not be equated with, or just another place for, "entertainment." Society's current fixation with entertainment is precisely that which is leading to the disrespect of all that was once meaningful. Ironically, many people's lives have become very small due to their obsessions with entertainment / distraction technology. Conversely, parks are for the expansion of one's consciousness: whether that be consciousness of one's physical health due to hiking; emotional / psychological health due to a decrease in the stressors of modern life; spiritual well being due to feelings of connection with all of Creation, rather than 'man' made environments.
Most importantly however, while parks are areas where humans visit, they are places where animals live. Everything possible, everything within our means must be done to ensure the safety and survival of the magnificent species we have in this massive, and environmentally diverse country. Parks must remain havens for animals from the brutality that humans inflict upon them whether willingly, or accidentally — as in, hunting in the former and collisions with cars, trucks, trains, in the latter.
We, as a society, as a country, must not become complacent in thinking that this is a large enough country and there is plenty of space in which nature can carry out her magic, providing us with the balm we so desperately need. It is our disconnection from nature that allows us to inflict the cruelties upon nature that we do. In order to mitigate devastatingly destructive harms done within the last one hundred years, all effort must be made to preserve the parks that we have by extending their boundaries whenever, wherever possible; by limiting any further encroachment of development for tourism; by ceasing and forbidding any further or future industrial expansion / exploitation; and by protecting humans, animals and plants from radiation-emitting technologies; and finally, by doing everything possible to protect animals from fatal interactions with humans.
On top of this tall order, Parks Canada must grab or make any and every opportunity, to create more parks! Large parks! There is nothing sadder than looking at maps of the many countries in the world and seeing how pathetic and inadequate the worldwide parks systems are; just how few and how small parks are in far too many parts of the world. Let Canada be a leader; let Canada be the envy of, and inspiration to, the entire world by showing how serious we are about our parks and how seriously we take protecting established, and making new, parks.
In conclusion, exploitation of nature will be our downfall. Preserving and protecting nature by expanding our parks may well be our only hope and saving grace. Given the current climate south of our border, Canada must once again embrace the challenge of distinguishing itself from our neighbours. By emphasizing and proving our commitment to mitigating global warming, enlarging our parks inventory would be an inspiring way to start — and that way, I will be able to continue proudly mailing spectacular calendars to Europe for years to come. Minister McKenna and all Round Table participants / consultants, thank you for this opportunity for input from the citizens of Canada. Overwhelming as your task may be, I think that the conclusion ought to be straight forward enough that common sense will prevail: Parks are not only vital to our Canadian identity, but also, and perhaps most importantly, they are vital to (our) survival.
In the US last year there was a contest that encouraged HAM radio operators to get on the air by setting up temporary stations. These setups offer as a test for emergency operation, communications that can save lived during a disaster. It would be great if Parks Canada would approach Radio Amateurs of Canada to see if a similar project can be pursued!
It would be great if Amateur Radio Field day could be promoted and events be scheduled within our parks
Alberta and Canada's national parks are very important to many people, including my friends and family. We always try to visit once or twice a year, more often if we can. Places like Sunshine and Lake Louise are important and need to be maintained and improved. Make sure our parks get taken care of please!
Private businesses such as the Glacier Skywalk and the proposed high-end resort at Maligne Lake in Jasper have no place in our national parks, nor does any resource extraction. Please end commercial development within our parks.
We also need to expand the number and size of parks while we can. Would love to see the Peel River Watershed in the Yukon covered by a national park. I support a greatly increased budget for Parks to ensure we are properly managing conservation needs.
For 30 years our family has traveled through Jasper at least once a year to visit family on the other side. After the park fees jumped some years ago, we often drove right though and camped outside the park. Finances made the choice for us.
As a passionate photographer, it was heart wrenching to only take pictures through the moving window, of what I considered my backyard.
As a mother, it broke my heart to give our kids fewer memories of playing in their park. We were lucky to have backpacked the Skyline trail while I was pregnant with our first, camped in most of the campgrounds, learned from the wardens and displays, hiked so many of the trails, swam in the lakes, and canoed a few too. Many, many of my favourite family memories happened in the park.
But kids memories are fleeting when they are young. I regret, as the fees grew and the kids grew, not giving them enough time to feel "at home" in our mountains, as I did on my beloved mountain of my childhood.
I realize now, Parks Canada also lost out on the money we would have paid had it been more affordable.
We all lost out, our kids, Parks Canada, and our environment.
Through taxes everyone pays according to their income. Parks belong to all of us. We have found it much more affordable to camp in the US, often for free.
If families cant afford to experience our grand national parks, it breaks the generational chain of interest, knowledge, and passion for our wild areas.
For our family, it is too late now to make it affordable for our kids to grow up in the park, but it is not too late for families following us.
Please keep the next generation connected to nature by lowering entrance fees for families.
Life and Living ‘in’ a ParkPremise: • One’s existence [i.e. individual (organism), nation (organization)] is necessarily given life and is sustained within the ‘grand park’, the ecosystem-writ-large.Corollary: • ’Parks’, parcels of dedicated land, are, at the very least, crucial to the survival of this nation’s people, of people the world over.Important Question: • How are we to ‘exist’ in the ‘grand park’ such that it sustains life, both particular (i.e. individual, nation) and, most especially, the living on of life-in-general. Impotent Question: • (Whilst in the throes of narcissism) do we wish to save token parcels of (park) land for the nation’s people while feigning care for (the) ecosystem(s) and then simply use ‘parked’ parcels of land for the purpose of amusing ourselves therein.Action(s) (Urgent and Pragmatic):• Dramatically increase the size and variety of all ecosystem land tracks germane to the geographic footprint of this nation.• Substantially curtail human degradation of those ecosystems (i.e. typical resource extraction, human population diffusion) and, by extension, the ecosystem-writ-large.• Articulate and enable ‘soft’ encounters with, in ecosystems specific to this nation. Tourism as a consumptive behaviour, especially for profit, is counter-intuitive.Action(s) (Going forward): • Demonstrably educate the human community to the effects of its living habit on the ecosystem-writ-large• Involve, orient the collective consciousness of the human community to living within the ‘means’ of the ecosystem-writ-large. That the ecosystem-writ-large is there for the at-will use by the human community is false logic.
Work with service groups and land owners to extend Dobson Trail north to Kouchibouguac National Park then west to Mount Carleton Provincial Park and the Appalachian Trail system as a hiking only trail.
I would like to see elaborate vehicle camping spots stay static, while encouraging walk in use where campers need to walk in 10-30 minutes or so to their sites. It's very frustrating not being able to visit a park unless it is well planned in advance, and part of the demand and resulting impact on the park is because of car camping.
The garbage produced, firewood consumed, trees cut for fires, noise produced, and number and size of items brought into a park is much greater when you can park a big vehicle and have access to so many of your toys and stuff.
How about creating relaxed-rules for overnight parking areas that are designed to be crowded, and keep everyone parked in one giant parking lot, instead of paving over and spreading our impact over large areas? Let people pull over at 10pm when they are tired and sleep in their car park right there, let intensive picnic use occur all day right there, and let walk in/boat in/bike in campers park their cars there for a day or a week to go into the park to experience wilderness with less rules and reservations.
It should be free to park a car overnight in a parking lot (charge $15 for a 2 min/2 min shower) rather than drive tired through the night with no ability to find a place to sleep, and perhaps 1/3rd price of car camping to stay in walk in sites. I think if we concentrate everyone in one area that might already be damaged, or able to handle intensive use and already beside electricity, telephone, water, etc rather than paving over a pristine beautiful area full of wildlife, we can allow more use outside of true wilderness areas. Let people walk to the best areas instead of driving their car there and taking up a huge amount of space for 24 hours.
I think it is so much smarter to put everything in one big area that has all the facilities in one spot, so costs to maintain are lower, and those that want to go to wild parts know there aren't any services so will limit their time away from safety, preserving the wild areas for wildlife and serious hikers.
I really think there existing vehicle campgrounds are just too big with too many people doing silly things, much better to concentrate people to a parking lot which has many functions, of course being the start of several trails to the main feature in the park. Showers I think are more important than having a nice view from your campsite itself.
BC's three provincial parks, Robson, Hamber and Assinniboine form an integral part of the Rocky Mtn World Heritage Site. While Robson and Assinniboine are accessible and interconnected with the National Parks, Hamber is inaccessible because a major bridge in Jasper NP has washed out. Rebuilding this bridge and improving the trail to Hamber PP would provide an amazing year-round introductory backcountry experience for visitors to Jasper (as it is an easy trail without climbs or avalanche terrain), and would showcase the changes in landscape as you cross the Great Divide.
The US and Europe have a number of famous long distance trails, which are extremely popular, and a rite of passage for many. Yet in Canada, aside from the Trans Canada Trail, we only have one difficult route, the Great Divide Trail. Can we not recognize this trail federally, improve it, and ask Parks Canada to manage the entire trail? It can be used to connect all the protected areas in the Rockies, and it could even be extended further north.
Parks Canada can do more to work with arctic communities to get indigenous youth back on the land with elders in the parks so they can reconnect with their traditional ways of living. This helps them to preserve their culture, and builds support for national parks and conservation in general in the north. It may result in healthier communities and through tourism opportunities, economic benefits as well.
Stop burning fires in all National Parks. It makes no sense to continue to
burning fossil fuels exposing all visitors & neighbourhoods to smoke.
All smoke is dangerous, if you can see it or smell it you are inhaling it.
We must start to teach our future generations to enjoy our parks with "Leave no Trace "
I have crossed Canada eight times in 65 years the last time I found the campsites an unpleasant places to be with fires burning 24/7 no matter the climate or time of day, it is not good for anyone.
We need to do better to lessen the impact of human activity on our ecosystem & our selves.
The National Parks when you added your entrance fee with campsite was too expensive & we learned to give them a miss on our last tenting journey across Canada in 2015.
Increase opportunities for others to participate in he important scientific monitoring and research that Parks carries out. Form more formal partnerships with research universities, and allow more opportunities for citizen science data collection.
National Parks and National Historic Sites can and should be leaders in waste reduction! By providing as many waste reduction, recycling and organics diversion opportunities as possible in National Parks and National Historic Sites, we can accomplish the following goals:
- Reduce waste and conserve valuable resources -- part of the mandate of Parks Canada!
- Help educate all park / historic site users in recycling and organics diversion -- which will help foster these activities at home and work
I would encourage Parks Canada to start with easy wins: partner with municipalities that are located in / near National Parks and National Historic Sites to set up a contract to incorporate the National Park / National Historic Site in the local recycling / organics diversion program. An excellent goal would be to have a recycling and organics diversion receptacle adjacent to any waste receptacle - ensuring these bins are animal-proof, as required. National Parks and National Historic Sites are where we can be modelling responsible environmental management and excellent waste diversion and management, for all to participate in and learn from!
Transfer surplus Royal Roads (National Defence) lands to Parks Canada in order to connect with existing Fort Rodd Hill / Fisgard Light NHS and the Esquimalt Lagoon National Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Last old growth on this part of Vancouver Island, great recreation potential (walking, etc.) and potential for traditional harvesting by local FNs. Excellent opportunity to connect larger urban audience with Parks Canada system, as well as protect natural and cultural resources. Otherwise, we'll just have another housing development, golf course or shopping mall some day.
In order to reconnect with nature Parks Canada has to start by reducing/restricting what kind of camping gear is used in the current Campsites.
Most campsites can host tents and smaller RV - plans are that large RV can also use the campsites which ultimately will destroy the "natural" feeling of the park. a good example is in Banff Two Jack vs Tunnel Mountain Campsites.
Currently Generators are allowed on the Campsites is totally wrong and flies in the face common sense to:
- connect with nature
- this motors are usually very loud/noise pollution and
- have NO emission control system
- no need for this environmentally unsustainable generators since solar panel can easily charge the batteries.
Same goes for WIFI - have it at some spots but not all over. Lets visitors inhale the natural beauty of the parks and instead of beeing be glued to the screen.
Keep commercial development to a minimum. It does not need massive infrastructure like the Glacier Skywalk to attract visitors.
Parks Canada should not be concerned about the numbers of visitors but about the conservation and restoration of our national parks to its most pristine condition for future generation to enjoy.
Hello good day.
Please No more resorce extraction in the parks or public land or water.
Please increase parks pass prices to help pay for conservation and up keep. You should not be giving them away free. Educate people before leting them enter parks. Fines for feeding wildlife/ bear block. Let ski resorts stay open. Let backcountry enthusiasts enjoy the parks. But please Stop with the shopping development in the parks.
A extra tax for tourists from other countries visiting parks and staying in parks hotels. That tax money should go back into parks upkeep and conservation.
Sunshine village in banff could use some more parking. A multi level eco friendly parking structure would work nice without increasing land footprint. Or shuttle buses
Please dont let banff and the parks become even more of a shoping destination. The parks should be there to let the public enjoy there own countries beauty. Not for companies to turn profits exploiting our countries neature
I strongly believe more measures need to be taken to protect animals in national and provincial parks and along all major highways. It has been proven that animal crossings over and under roadways are very successful in saving the lives of animals. In addition, penalties for harassing and/or threatening animals (stopping on roadways to approach animals for pictures, chasing, not removing garbage and food, etc) should be increased dramatically and much more strictly enforced
Increasing visitation is diametrically opposed to much of the Parks original mandate. Administrators will obviously work to the objectives set for them. Decisions should not be based on increasing the turnstyle count. Let's focus on quality over quantity (especially for the mountain parks).
Stewardship education programs should teach about ecosystem services. They should also promote the idea that people are a part of nature, not separate from it, and that we all have a responsibility to treat nature with care. Also emphasize the ways people benefit from connection with nature.
I hike, canoe, downhill ski, xc ski, mountain bike, and climb in the parks. I believe we need to encourage people connect with nature within our treasured national parks. Spending should focus on connecting people with nature. It is the interaction with Canadians and the natural environment which will improve the country. Hiking, ski trails and biking trails need to be maintained and improved.
I am not anti-development, but I do want to preserve the environment and respect the wildlife and nature within our beautiful country. We do not need more hotels, resorts, gimmicks etc to bring foreigners to our country to enjoy its awesomeness. Stay in the city - travel to the mountains and parks for the day and then leave...with all of your garbage.
Access for indigenous peoples to practice traditional resource management (and other traditional activities) in parks. Educate visitors about revitalization efforts.
Work towards co-managing parks with local indigenous groups.
Dear Minister,Except the recommendations mentioned before on CPAW webside I have a few on my own (and from many other people):1. Stop commercial developments in National Parks, i.e. in Jasper/Banf National Park. Parks areour treasure and should not be the source for profit. They must be left untouched with minimalinfrastructure, except hiking trails (not the biking routes).2. Build more campgrounds in parks - simple camping places (not overflow places), where morepeople can spend time in nature. I spend significant amount of time in Rockies every year andwatch how "inaccessible" they are for many people due to lack of spaces.3. Change the reservation system: MAKE CAMPGROUNDS RESERVABLE MAXIMUM up to50%. I know that reservations bring you more money but creates huge struggle for true campersand tourists, which cannot find any free spots in most of the campgrounds, even if they show uparound 12.00-1.00 pm. Besides that, how can you plan your visit in the park a few months aheadof your vacation. Reality of life in most of the cases does not allow for that. Canadians simply donot go to national parks (with some exception of Albertans who reserve most/all campgrounds onmost weekends and in summertime weekdays in Rockies).4. Pricing -I heard that over and over: staying in national parks became very expensive (for me aswell). Daily stay for family cost on average $50. Diversify prices for Canadians (includingPermanent Residents) and foreigners. WE PAY ALREADY FOR PARKS IN OUR TAXES. I do notmind personally to pay a few dollars more in taxes for parks maintenance and developments.Again they are the property and treasure of ALL CANADIANS. Many of my friends statedrepetitively that they can not afford to go (and stay) in National Parks.I am absolutely sure, that my views are shared by majority of Canadians!Sincerely,
Dear Minister McKenna,
Information is not readily available to the public. One needs to dig to find the parks mandate, and information on how to care for wildlife. The Canadian Rockies have become a playground for selfies, bear-jams and trash. Wolves were killed in our parks last year because of a lack of education among the visitors. Glaciers are melting, yet we still allow Brewster busses to do tours of the Athabasca glacier. We are selling our parks at the cost of the environment.
All Visitors that enter the park should be educated on the importance of leaving no trace, treading lightly, and to respect and protect wildlife. I work in the Canadian Rockies and have often had to stop bear jams and warn visitors to get back in the cars. Visitors are standing 3 meters away from feeding grizzlies on the highways! It seems absurd that people would want to be in a situation that threatens not only themselves, but the wildlife, for the sake of a photo.
I am very disappointed that when park passes are purchased there is no information on how to treat our parks with respect. It should be a contract, that when you pay the entry fee, you are committing to the park rules.
On the back of the park pass there should be rules, information, explanation as to why bear jams are hazardous, information as to why it is vital that we avoid throwing trash on the ground. Last year, on the back of the park pass was a photograph of kids playing on the beach. Why? We don't need to promote beaches. Use the space on the back of park passes to have education readily available for ALL visitors. Have them sign it before they hang it on the rear-view mirror!
What we have is a precious resource, and with parks being free this year. It's time to educate all visitors. We need more garbage and recycling bins, both at the trail heads and at view points.
I would also like to speak about the Saint Lawrence Estuary.
We have too many boats traveling through, polluting the water and cutting off communication for the whales. They are suffering and it is a vital migratory feeding ground for the permanent residents (the Beglugas) and the other whales that frequent the waters.
Whale watching outfitters are suffocating the whales and not respecting the distances that they are told to reserve. Whales are such delicate creatures and should not have to navigate through such high traffic waters.
We write because we care. We love our land, and want to protect it before things continue to melt away, or a species becomes near extinct, we want to protect it before it is too late.
Thank you! We genuinely appreciate the space to share our thoughts.
Develop clear climate change impact and mitigation (actions) plans for each park. For example, in parks with alpine plants at risk of losing habitat, look at assisted migration and seed banks for preserving genetic stock, and native plant nurseries for proactive repopulation of at risk species.
Increase interdisciplinary collaboration with experts to help with climate change planning.
Dear Minister Catherine McKenna,
For the past 6 months my wife and I were living in southern Chile teaching English to high schoolstudents in vulnerable neighbourhoods. While living in Chile we had the opportunity to visit manynational parks, including the flagship park in Patagonia of Torres del Paine. Although the parks inChile had stunning natural beauty it was heartbreaking to see the ill-guided priorities of thenational park service in that country. Torres del Paine in particular has been irreversibly damagedby the extensive infrastructure projects within the park. The park has been further affected byprivate concessionaires operating within the park whose priorities are profit rather thanconservation and protection. On one hand, my experience in Chile made me extremely proud ofCanada and our national parks. Not only is the natural beauty of our country unmatched, themanagement of our parks is something I can speak of with pride. Nevertheless, I fear thatexpanding development in our parks puts us at risk of losing site of the conservation andprotection mandates of Parks Canada. One only needs to visit the Banff townsite to see howappealing to tourism rather than conservation has taken away from the wilderness of that beautifulpark.
I am sending you this letter to plead that you refocus Parks Canada on nature conservation as thefirst priority for national park management. The following were put forth by CPAWS and I sharetheir recommendations:
1. Stop expanding the development footprint in our national parks, particularly in Banff and Jasper2. Re-invest in science and ecological monitoring to guide park management3. Focus Parks Canada’s visitor experience programs on nature-based education and stewardship4. Create more new national parks and national marine conservation areas
Dear Honourable Minister McKenna,
As you know, Canadians cherish our National Parks, which are a huge draw for tourists from around the world. One of the main reasons that both Canadians and international tourists love our parks is that they have always been strictly maintained as natural wilderness, that is until the last few years or so.
I thrill passing through the mountains on my way to BC, and hope my children and future grandchildren can do the same. I am deeply concerned about the 'focus on tourism' where that focus privileges people, and infrastructure to accommodate people, over that natural wilderness, which has been so cared for by Canada Parks over the decades. The creeping increase in infrastructure to serve people is not sustainable, and will only lead to cumulative damages to Canada Parks, decreasing their value as wilderness areas more and more over time.
Canadians don't want our parks to erode to become a 'symbolic' wilderness value! We want to keep the wilderness in Canada's parks! Please stop expanding infrastructure development in our parks, especially Jasper and Banff. Any new infrastructure should be supported by science, and evidence based on ecological monitoring needs to be used when making decisions.
Visitors to Canada's parks need to be educated in what sustainability means and how it's done. Traditional Knowledge holders could be employed to share the paradigm of sustainability as it is truly envisioned, and we sure hope to get there one day soon! Canada needs mandatory cultural sensitivity training in order to approach reconciliation. Unfortunately, the depths of our history is not yet widely known. While quite horrible, we must acknowledge history so as not to keep repeating it. Only through the real work of reconciliation workshops, once cultural sensitivity is attained, can we embrace our cultural heritage of sustainability.
Our parks are to protect wilderness for future generations, and we are in a historical period where wilderness is under attack from the cumulative effects of human development. We are counting on you to make decisions that will protect our parks for future generations, encourage and teach the concept of sustainability, and share Canada's values with the world.
Sincerely, Jule Asterisk
Each year for the last sixty years I have visited Prince Albert National Park and within the last two decades have observed a huge decrease in the public education component offered by Park Naturalists and Wardens, so vital in establishing the connection with nature. In 2002 I was told that what was present at PANP was more than the highly used mountain parks!
This last summer I visited the Icefields Centre n Jasper and found restaurants and venues selling tickets for private tours. Interpretative information was virtually nonexistent.
It didn't even feel like a National Park Centre. This is what the National Park Servicepresents to all those buses and buses of tourists??
-National Parks especially those with high visitor visits need to refocus on protecting their
ecological integrity, and restoring a strong presence of park staff bringing interpretation to visitors.
-It is paramount to restore science funding within parks. Not only would this add to information for
so public interpretive programs but give critical information to inform appropriate use of the park
areas by the public.
-When considering any new or redevelopment within parks the government must re-build
environmental assessment processes and ensure that decision making is within the ecological
protection mandate as first principle and make the process transparent.
Please understand how precious these parks are. If we can't take care of them and ensure their
ecological health then....
I would be happy to be kept informed of this process and receive a response.
Dear Minister Catherine McKenna,
One of Canadas biggest assets are its wild lands. Canada is unique in the world in regards to the extent and the beauty of its wilderness areas. When people around the world think of Canada they think of beavers and eagles, mountains, forests, rivers and lakes. These wild lands are deeply embedded in Canadian identity and culture. For the sake of the future of all Canadians we need to protect these wilderness areas so that the grandchildren of our children will still be able to experience Canada's wonders. And we need to do a much better job at this. Only 10% of Canada's vast land area currently has some form of protection status. The rest of the lands are often very heavily exploited for their natural resources.
In addition, only 2.9% of Canadas vast area falls under the high protection categories of National Park. And even within this highest protection status there are serious concerns - a recent report by Parks Canada finds that 29 of the 41 national parks and reserves examined had at least one ecosystem rated as fair or poor.
We need to do a better job at protecting our natural heritage. I therefore urge you to refocus Parks Canada on nature conservation as the first priority for national park management. Specifically, please:
1. Stop expanding the development footprint in our national parks, particularly in Banff and Jasper
2. Re-invest in science and ecological monitoring to guide park management
3. Focus Parks Canada’s visitor experience programs on nature-based education and stewardship
4. Create more new national parks and national marine conservation areas
PLEASE CONSIDER ...
Increased access IS NOT NECESSARILY expanded access. Investment in existing parking, mass transport and human traffic control infrastructure to accommodate current demand is long overdue in the Mountain Parks.
To accommodate the increased visitorship of the future and certain saturation of current space allocated to visitors; regulating human traffic could be more stringently controlled at principal access points by implementing already proven methods on a much larger and appropriate scale.
Implementing mass transit systems and trail use limitations as done with Yoho's Lake O'hara buses or Burgess shale escorted hikes at the Park Gates and information hubs will be the only real way to inform visitors of their true impact and why it must be limited.
Comparitively, being Canadian is largely defined by our connection with Nature. It should be made available to all, just not at the same time
In general, national parks are large. As such, there could certainly be some areas deemed hands off or restricted visitor numbers, but there should also be areas that can be appropriately developed for people to enjoy. Developed areas could provide some of or all of the funding for the preservation areas.
Successive governments, both parties, have underfunded the parks and at the same time made them unaffordable for many Canadians. There needs to be a balance between use and preservation.
I feel very strongly that the focus of Parks Canada should be on conservation and preservation ofnatural areas. Development should be very limited within park boundaries, there are plenty ofopportunities for development outside of national parks. I think that tourism in parks shouldcentre around educating the public on the importance of maintaining species diversity andconservation of habitats and what they can do to help. I have no problem with areas of nationalparks being completely closed off to the public if it means protecting an endangered species ortheir habitat.I think we need a more cohesive park system that provides continuous corridors for wildlife totravel and we need more marine conservation areas to protect vulnerable areas that serve as thenurseries for fisheries.Getting people to the parks helps them to appreciate nature, but we don't want to love our parks todeath. While they are there they need to eat sleep and enjoy themselves, but there needs to be abalance with the priority on nature conservation.
Parks Canada should consider the addition of recycling and compost collection facilities in Parks with reasonable access to facilities which can accept these waste streams.
I think we need a more cohesive park system that provides continuous corridors for wildlife totravel and we need more marine conservation areas to protect vulnerable areas that serve as thenurseries for fisheries.
I just wanted to comment on the recent things that have come up in regards to the conservation groups across the country that have been launching major campaigns to block recreation opportunities like skiing and snowboarding. My favourite things to do during the winter is go snowboarding at Sunshine and Lake Louise in the Banff National park. This is what i think about when i think of winter and i am constantly thinking of the next time i can get out and go to the mountains. I think that it is essential for Parks to support such a big event such as this in our national parks. but along with that i think that it is important for these Places to have good parking, as places like Sunshine Village have a hard time accommodating for all of the people who wish to go skiing their during the winter months
The first sentence in the Parks Canada mandate is to "protect and present" these places and I honestly believe it is possible to do both. I think more education is the key.
As someone who has worked as a park interpreter in the mountain parks I honestly believe the vast majority of people don't realize some of their actions carry negative consequences (ie. Throwing organic waste out their car window, stopping to watch a bear, walking off path) I feel my job educating the public was incredibly valuable but some days I felt like it was a drop in the bucket of what needs to be done.
Banff this past summer did a great job stepping up the "do not feed wildlife" signage, and they hired staff specifically to educate visitors at day use areas to clean up their waste and monitor garbage. I think the parks are moving in the right direction but need more resources, and more staff, to deal with the massive increase in visitation.
The Canadian government is currently promoting 150th Anniversary celebrations and legacy projects for 2017. Tragically, one of the lasting human legacies will be one of loss – the loss of many species. Increased awareness through literature, documentary film, education, and the visual arts, is just one of the important tactics we can use to confront the problem, but it is ultimately our actions upon this planet that will determine the fate of all species. Actions taken by important institutions, such as the federal government and Parks Canada, are what will ensure the safety of many of our species at risk. What our Canadian Parks need is less development for human activities, such as tourism, and more protected and uninterrupted corridors for migrating animals, such as the grizzly bear.
Minimize the impact to fragile ecosystems by limiting exposure to park visitors. Areas at risk need to be protected from further damage. Visitors need to be taught how to care for the park areas they use. Far too many people do not understand how to enjoy the parks without causing damage. Our native peoples would be the perfect choice to teach respect for our land. Commercial development is impacting the parks in negative & irreversible ways and should be under stricter regulations. For-profit development should be paying considerable fees annually for the privilege of being allowed to operate within the parks. A 20% share of their profits donated to the parks would ensure funds are available to improve all our parks.
As an octogenarian Ontarian long engaged in conservation, I am disturbed at the shift in ParksCanada towards marketing, tourism, and infrastucture development. I know that by law Canada'snational parks are places where nature is to be protected first and foremost for our enjoyment andthat of future generations. The shift in emphasis, and cuts to conservation capacity, are puttingwild life and wilderness at risk. It is alarming that according to Parks Canada data almost half ofpark ecosystems are in fair or poor condition. Grizzzly bears are struggling in Banff while newtourism developments (e.g. massive expansion of the Lake Louise ski resort) are approved byParks Canada that contravene park policies.Therefore I urge you to stop expanding the footprint of development in our parks, above all inBanff and Jasper.The removal in 2012 of the requirement of environmental assessment on projects in national parkswas a step backwards. I urge you to fulfil the commitment the Liberal government has made torefocus on protecting ecological integrity, and to restore science funding and rebuild environmentalassessment processes to enable evidence based decision-making. In particular, reinvest inscience and ecological monitoring to guide park management.Our national parks should not be entertainment of the kind available in commercial resorts. Hikingand the pleasures of seeing natural beauty and learning about nature in the wild are the truestvalues of a national park, to renew our spirits and our love of this vast land.Nature-based education and stewardship should be the focus of the experience that ParksCanada offers visitors.It would be visionary to create more national parks and more national marine conservation areas.The huge diversity and natural wonders of this great land of Canada could be celebrated in thisway in its 150th year!
Have parks that focus on history, have parks that focus on the environment, and have those that focus on recreation opportunities. Develop parks which are accessible and provide opportunities to have fun while out in the natural world. I'd love to see more professionally built mountain bike trails, rock climbing centres, hiking, and kayaking/canoeing routes in parks near populations to help support the conservation efforts elsewhere.
Parks Canada needs to do a better job of protecting the ecosystems and landscapes. Loss of funds for science and monitoring of species, and reduced focus on protection of the environment have been the focus of PC in recent years. Increases in infrastructure spending is needed in some areas, but a bike trail from Jasper to Lake Louise is not promoting enjoyment of park values. It is recreation, not promotion of park values. Parks Canada needs to stop approving the development of tourism businesses and hotels in the mountain parks and stop increasing the size of existing businesses. Limits to growth should apply in Parks or we will not protect the species or ecosystems that we value.
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