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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.
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.
In its latest annual report released in advance of Canada Parks Day, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is calling on Parks Canada to re-focus on its legal obligation to protect nature as the first priority for managing our national parks, and to immediately stop development in Banff and Jasper National Parks.
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.
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