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Celebrate Canada’s Parks System on July 16th, 2011

Saturday, July 16th is Canada’s Parks Day: a day to get out and celebrate our spectacular parks system.  Whether you go camping in one of our national or provincial parks for the weekend, or take a walk in the woods in an urban nature park, it’s a great day to enjoy and to reflect on how important these special protected natural spaces are to us as individual Canadians and to our country.

Our parks provide us with opportunities to spend time together as families, to learn about nature and to enjoy healthy recreational activities in a beautiful outdoor setting.  Our parks are places of refuge from busy day-to-day lives; they provide places where we can slow down, breathe deeply and restore our balance.  They are sanctuaries for wild creatures, including species at risk, who have less and less secure space to live in our increasingly human-impacted landscape.  Our parks contribute to our sense of identity as Canadians, protecting many of our most cherished land and waterscapes, like Banff, Fundy, Nahanni and Algonquin.

Our parks protect healthy ecosystems that provide Canadians with clean air and clean water.  For example, the source of drinking water for Calgary is the Mountain Parks of the Rockies.  Park ecosystems help stabilize our climate by absorbing and storing carbon in our forests, grasslands and wetlands, and produce oxygen for us to breathe.

Our parks are also important to the Canadian economy.  They are among Canada’s most high profile tourist attractions. Studies show that Canada's national, provincial and territorial parks support over 60,000 jobs across Canada, and contribute billions of dollars per year to the Canadian economy.

On Parks Day, as you roam through a forest, paddle a river or lake, and contemplate the beauty that surrounds you, celebrate our parks, and the amazing contribution they make to our lives, and with the support of caring citizens, will continue to make for generations to come.