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:
2013 – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
2012 – Parks under threat
2010 – How is wildlife faring in Canada's parks?
2009 – The good, the bad and the ugly
2008 – Taking stock of Canada's progress on parks and protected areas
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:
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!
Canada’s annual Parks Day takes place on July 20, 2013. Since 2008, CPAWS has issued an annual report reviewing how well Canada has done over the past year in both creating parks and protecting these natural treasures for the benefit of current and future generations of Canadians. This year’s report concludes that in the past twelve months, the story of how Canada’s parks are faring has been mixed. Overall, our assessment is that progress on creating and protecting Canada’s parks has taken one step forward and two steps back.
Canada’s 21st annual Parks Day takes place on July 21, 2012. The date is an opportunity for Canadians to celebrate our spectacular national, provincial and territorial parks, and to reflect on how well we are doing at protecting these natural treasures for the benefit of current and future generations.
Parks under threat
CPAWS Southern Alberta outlines concerns about guidelines for Mount Norquay in Banff, which would adversely affect grizzlies.
How is wildlife faring in Canada's parks?
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