Recalling an eclectic 40 years with CPAWS

by Bob Peart

My memories of CPAWS range over 40 years and are eclectic: experiencing magnificent landscapes and tremendous people, attending numerous meetings, taking in the thrill of victory and needing patience as park campaigns take so long to complete.  Such has been my CPAWS journey!  My journey has been one of advocacy and it has taken me to workshops, political boardrooms and kitchen tables to plan and scheme how to protect nature. My journey has also been one of learning and it has taken me to nature trails, interpretation centres and museums to share my love for the outdoors and to help families and children experience nature and understand better how the web-of-life works.  My journey has been rewarding beyond description and provided me the hope that is so necessary to keep working away to protect Canada's wild places.

As we move into the future the critical campaigns will need to be fought within the context of climate change.  We need to protect large, wild places and keep them connected to ensure a home for wildlife and the top carnivores.  We need to ensure that our urban areas are filled with nature-rich landscapes readily accessible so all citizens will have nature throughout their neighbourhoods.  It is critical that youth be central to all CPAWS' affairs, including leading the park and wilderness campaigns.  And we must ensure that all cultures and people of all ages are out there enjoying nature in our park settings - be they municipal, regional, provincial or national parks.

Canada must remain 'Wild at Heart’ as human health is dependent on healthy ecosystems.  I am confident that CPAWS will continue to be the strong leading voice across the country for parks and wilderness.