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Happy birthday, Parks Canada!

Parks Canada 100th anniversaryIt’s a big one this year. One hundred years. Not too many centenarians around in Canada these days, but thank goodness our national parks agency is not just alive and kicking at 100 – it’s vibrant and poised for even greater successes in its next century.

To this day, unbelievably beautiful Canadian natural treasures like Banff and Jasper National Parks give many of us a reason to greet the morning with a smile and hope. From the very first national parks in the Rocky Mountains, to later additions in the majestic highlands of Cape Breton, the grasslands of Saskatchewan, Yukon’s Kluane, the NWT’s awe-inspiring Nahanni, and the recently-added Torngat Mountains in Labrador, we cherish the natural wonders protected within our national parks.

CPAWS began in 1963, not even 50 years ago. But still we feel in some ways like a proud parent of our national parks agency. The inspiration for CPAWS’ founding was the very deep love of our country’s wilderness, along with our recognition that individual Canadians can play an important role in supporting our national and provincial parks.

Our national parks are places where wildlife  finds sanctuary from the harsh effects of modern human “growth”, where humans nourish and re-nourish our souls, where people from far and wide come to wonder at the natural world still found within our country’s borders. Our hope is that over the next few years, we’ll complete a system of national parks that protects examples of the full diversity of Canada’s magnificent landscapes, and a network of marine protected areas in all of our oceans.

In fact, our hope is that one hundred years from now, national parks will be part of a comprehensive network of protected areas covering at least half of Canada!

What do you think the next 100 years will bring? What’s your hope for the future of our national parks? Please share your thoughts.