Sustainable development in national parks

Petition: 416

Issue(s): Biological diversity, Natural resources, Other, Science and technology

Petitioner(s): Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Banff, Alberta

Date Received: 29 March 2018

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition raises a series of questions on various aspects of the activities and strategic direction of Parks Canada (the Agency), including the impacts it says resulted from the 2012 federal budget reductions to Agency funding. It states that ecological integrity should not be the only priority for national parks and that economic as well as ecological benefits should be considered. The petition concludes that public education and visitors’ experiences contribute to Parks Canada’s conservation objectives.

The petition calls for a strong policy framework and to report on the health of national parks to ensure an appropriate level of investments and to assess the impact of new visitor facilities and programs. Questions are grouped under five categories: development in national parks; ecological monitoring and science programming; ecological restoration and ecological integrity within national parks; impacts of free entry to national parks; and financial information about Parks Canada, including funding for the Visitor Experience Program.

The petition asks specific questions about development limits, new developments, visitors’ facilities, and decommissioned trails. It also asks about the status and level of funding for ecological monitoring and science programs, including any progress made since the 2013 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Chapter 7—Ecological Integrity in National Parks.

The petition also requests budgetary information related to ecological restoration initiatives in national parks and the results of ecological integrity investments made over the past decade. It asks how increased park visits resulting from the 2017 free-entry pass initiative have affected ecological integrity and development in national parks. The petition seeks additional financial data from Parks Canada, including information on national park revenues and the use of these revenues to fund the Agency’s programs.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Parks Canada