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Articles by CPAWS

CPAWS is Canada's voice for wilderness. Since 1963 we've led in creating over two-thirds of Canada's protected areas. That amounts to about half a million square kilometres - an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory! Our vision is that Canada will protect at least half of our public land and water. As a national charity with 13 chapters, over 50 staff, 40,000 supporters and hundreds of volunteers, CPAWS works collaboratively with governments, local communities, industry and indigenous peoples to protect our country's amazing natural places. We're also on guard to ensure that our parks are managed to protect the nature within them.

Outdoor Remedy: Improving health and inspiring the next generation of conservationists


From the Fall 2013/Winter 2014 issue of Canadian Wilderness

Nature-deficit disorder in youth today may mean fewer environmental stewards tomorrow. Or so goes the logic behind CPAWS’ drive to engage Canadian youth with the outdoors, whether it’s with classroom education programs, green-themed youth leadership symposia or inspiring youth to be ambassadors for the outdoors with their own peer groups.

“CPAWS’ focus is really to ensure that the future has wilderness defenders,” says Elyse Curley, Terrestrial and Youth Programs Manager for the CPAWS B.C. chapter.

At a time when research is showing that more time spent outdoors helps combat obesity, ADHD symptoms, and poor test scores, children are outdoors less than ever. Nearly eight out of ten parents report that their children spend less time in parks and green spaces than they themselves did. A David Suzuki Foundation survey reported that 70 per cent of children play outside less than an hour a day. And no wonder: Canadian children and youth today spend an average of 7 hours and 48 minutes a day in front of a TV, computer, smart phone or video game screen.


Fate of Algonquin cottages should be determined by science-based Ecological Integrity Action Plan


By Dave Pearce, Manager Forest Conservation, CPAWS Wildlands League

Three newly released Ontario Parks’ reports - based on available data, published reports and scientific literature - describe the same long-standing concerns Wildlands League has had about the ecological impacts of cottages in Algonquin Park. They also point out that Ontario taxpayers are heavily subsidizing these cottages.  Read more here.


Nature at Home: Sometimes the landscapes most in need of protection are those in our own backyards


From the Fall 2013/Winter 2014 issue of Canadian Wilderness

Consider it a colossal Christmas present. Last December, the Nova Scotia government purchased 220,000 hectares from Resolute Forest Products—the largest sale of privately held land in the province’s history, about four per cent of its total landmass.

One of the drivers behind the $100-plus-million deal for three expansive clusters of woodland on the western half of mainland Nova Scotia was a desire for more sustainable forestry. With the industry slumping and mills closing, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) was concerned about foreign timber investment management organizations (TIMOs) swooping in to snap up undervalued land, then developing prime properties along lakes and rivers and clear-cutting the rest. So CPAWS, along with many other groups involved in the Buy Back the Mersey Coalition (a grassroots movement bringing together more than two dozen diverse organizations, from environmentalists and research institutions to municipalities and off-highway vehicle enthusiasts) pushed the Nova Scotia government to acquire the lands, protecting the most ecologically significant properties and undertaking community forestry on the remaining terrain.


The Big Vision: The evolution of CPAWS


From the Fall 2013 issue of Canadian Wilderness

The beauty of natural landscapes appeals to people the world over, Canadians no more so than the Chinese or Columbians or Croatians. Rolling hills, grasslands, mountains, forests, deserts, tundra: they speak to our sense of aesthetics at a primeval level. The allure is timeless: humans are as attracted today to the natural splendour of the outdoors as they were 1,000 years ago. What has changed over the last 50 years is what we know and how we think about natural landscapes.

When the National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada (NPPAC), the forerunner to CPAWS, was founded in 1963, it was in part a response to a call from Alvin Hamilton, then Minister of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources in the Diefenbaker government. In the summer of 1960, Hamilton reminded his colleagues in the House of Commons, some of whom were urging him to consider hosting the winter Olympics in Banff National Park, that the fundamental purpose of parks is to preserve them for “the thousands who want these parks and who want them for their quietness and beauty and relief from the pressures of this civilization.”


Camping in Alberta’s badlands: discovering Dinosaur Provincial Park


It’s easy to see why Dinosaur Provincial Park became recognized as a World Heritage Site.

Driving down from the familiar prairies into the alien landscapes of the Red Deer River floodplain stirs the imagination of child and adult alike. I remember as a kid being completely awestruck by the eroded steppes of the Alberta badlands. Once you are standing on the bottom formation, carved hills and hoodoos towering before you (and with a child’s mind overflowing with images of dinosaurs), you are transported back in time, encircled by volcanoes!

The high, round-topped mounds that people enjoy sitting sagely upon are of course not volcanoes; their slopes were engraved by water, not lava. However, they do act as mountain summits for aspiring explorers. Every gained height lends a new perspective on the topography and around every ridge is another surprising geologic feature. There are many eroded out caves and curious holes in the ground as well as interesting patterns overlaid onto different colored strata.


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