Conservation groups celebrate passage of law strengthening protections for Rouge National Urban Park

Conservation groups celebrate passage of law that strengthens protections for Rouge National Urban Park Ecological integrity becomes priority in management of park today FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Ottawa- CPAWS and Nature Canada celebrate a major achievement today for Rouge National Urban Park- Bill C-18 received Royal Assent from the Governor General. The law means ecological integrity will be the first priority in management of Rouge National Urban Park. It meets a key request from leading conservation groups in Canada that the federal government prioritize nature conservation in law for the park. “How sweet it is,” says Janet Sumner, Executive Director for CPAWS Wildlands League. “After five years, we are that much closer to achieving our dream of building a truly amazing protected ecological connection for wildlife between the Oak Ridges Moraine and Lake Ontario in the Toronto area,” Sumner added.‎ Nature Canada and CPAWS thank the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change and her team for leading the amendment process. “We couldn’t have done it without the extraordinary leadership and commitment by the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change and her team to the park,” said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director of Nature Canada. The minister made it a priority early in her mandate to strengthen the legislation and find a path forward that includes all involved. The groups are pleased with the result. “The law now meets the international definition of a protected area and ensures the park will have the best chance at long term success given its densely urban surroundings,” Fast added. The groups also look forward to working with the farmers in the park on stewardship. Nature Canada and CPAWS have worked closely with both Canada and Ontario to ensure the full potential of Rouge National Urban Park can be achieved. “What an amazing gift this is to Canadians,” says Éric Hébert-Daly of CPAWS. “The Rouge is a special place where everyone: newcomers to Canada, friends and families who love the outdoors and those who are just getting to know nature in their own backyard can connect with nature,” added Hebert Daly. The Rouge protects a rare Carolinian Forest, is home to over 1,700 species of plants and animals including 23 species at risk. Because it is located in the heart of the GTA, this natural gem will also be an important gateway for residents and visitors to learn about Canada’s national park system and the important role it plays in protecting Canada’s biodiversity. – 30 – For more information please contact: Janet Sumner, Executive Director, CPAWS Wildlands League, 416-579-7370 (mobile) Eleanor Fast, Executive Director, Nature Canada, 613-314-8713 (mobile) Éric Hébert-Daly, National Executive Director, CPAWS, 613-569-7226 ext 228