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Canada has one of the oldest and most extensive parks systems in the world. CPAWS advocates for new parks and acts as a watchdog to ensure that existing ones are well-managed. With pressures on our wilderness growing, creating more parks and ensuring existing ones are well-funded and protected is more important than ever.
Canada’s national, provincial and territorial parks are protected wilderness areas set aside by and for the people of Canada, forever. Parks are places we dream about – where we get inspired by nature’s beauty, spend time with family and friends, learn about nature, and enjoy healthy outdoor activities. They’re also places that plants and animals rely on for their very survival. They provide space for wildlife to roam, feed and raise their young away from the threat of human development.
Our parks provide many more extraordinary benefits to Canadians. They provide clean water to some of our largest cities. They moderate our climate by storing carbon in their soils and forests. They provide outdoor laboratories for scientific research, and classrooms for learning about nature. For a growing number of Indigenous people, parks offer a way to maintain and share their cultural traditions.
CPAWS is on guard for how Canada’s parks are managed, to make sure they continue to protect the nature that inspired their creation.
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Parks are also important economic engines. For every dollar governments spend on our national, provincial and territorial parks, more than five dollars are generated for the Canadian economy. Canada`s parks also support 64,000 jobs across the country.
With only 10% of Canada’s landscape protected from industrial development pressures, more parks and protected areas are urgently needed to conserve Canada’s wildlife and ecosystems for future generations.
Our parks face many threats from inside and outside their boundaries that put their ecological integrity at risk, including:
All across Canada, CPAWS is working with local communities, First Nations, other conservation organizations and businesses to encourage governments to complete networks of parks and other protected areas, and to make sure existing parks are well-resourced and protected for the future.
We’re working to:
CPAWS Annual Parks Reports:
Each July in the lead up to Canada's Parks Day, CPAWS releases a review of the progress and challenges facing our parks:
Policy briefs and submissions:
Re-investing in national parks:
CPAWS is a member of the Green Budget Coalition which brings together 16 national environmental and conservation organizations to make annual recommendations to "green" the federal budget. For many years CPAWS has led in developing recommendations for federal funding for national parks and other federal protected areas.
Canada's Parks Day (third Saturday in July)
Join Canadians from sea to sea to sea to celebrate the importance of our parks and historic sites.
Celebrate Parks Video Contest (2010)
With the support of Parks Canada, we ran this contest to introduce Canadians to their national parks. See the submissions here:
Your voice is needed to ensure park policies are respected so Jasper and our other Rocky Mountain national parks are protected for future generations of Canadians to appreciate and enjoy.
Join thousands of Canadians who are standing up for Jasper. Sign the petition today.
This badger and his desert friends need your help. Their habitat – a dry, warm landscape in southern B.C. – continues to disappear at an alarming rate due to human settlement. You can help create a National Park!
Nature: Part of the climate change solution
There is a crisis in Canada’s national parks. A rash of commercial development projects have been approved in Banff and Jasper, and similar development pressures are now spilling over into other national parks as well. CPAWS’ Special Report highlights the growing list of commercial developments that are close to final approval, or have already been completed in recent years.
This report assesses Canada’s progress towards our country’s commitment to protect at least 17% of our land and freshwater by 2020, and improve the quality of our parks and other protected areas. Achieving this 2020 target is an important step towards the much largerscale conservation action that’s needed to conserve Canada’s ecosystems in the long term.
Canada’s annual Parks Day takes place on July 19th, 2014. Since 2008 CPAWS has issued an annual report reviewing how well Canada has done over the past year in both creating new parks and protecting our existing parks for the benefit of current and future generations of Canadians. Over the years the review has ranged from celebrating significant progress on new parks to noting a slowdown in progress and highlighting
emerging problems. Unfortunately, for the third year in a row, while there were some good news stories, our overall conclusion is that Canada continues to lose ground in creating and protecting our cherished parks.
A New Climate for Conservation: Nature, Carbon and Climate Change in British Columbia explores the role of nature conservation in a climate action strategy for ecological adaptation (Part 1) and ecological mitigation
(Part 2), with the key recommendation to develop a comprehensive and integrated Nature Conservation and Climate Action Strategy for the Province of British Columbia. This report was commissioned by the Working Group on Biodiversity, Forests and Climate, an alliance of Environmental Non-governmental Organizations (ENGOs) including: B.C. Spaces for Nature, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Land Trust Alliance of B.C., West Coast Environmental Law, and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.
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