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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Canadian National Parks

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Mount Chephren and Waterfowl Lake in Banff National Park

First Park Banff National Park, 1885
Smallest Park St. Lawrence Islands National Park, 9 km²
Largest Park Wood Buffalo National Park, 44,807 km²
Governing body Parks Canada

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Distribution and location of national parks in Canada

The National Parks of Canada encompass over forty protected areas, including National Parks, National Park Reserves, National Marine Conservation Areas, and one National Landmark. The National Park System includes 157 National Historic Sites, which, like the parks, are operated by Parks Canada.

The goal of the national park service is to create a system of protected areas which represent all the distinct natural regions of the country. Parks Canada–the governing body for the system–has developed a plan identifying 39 different regions it aims to represent. As of 2005, Parks Canada reports that the system is over 60% complete. Canada's parks are managed to first protect the ecological integrity of the park, and secondarily to allow the public to explore, learn about and enjoy Canada's natural spaces.

Parks referred to as National Park Reserves will become National Parks once outstanding land claim issues have been resolved. Parks with this designation include Pacific Rim, Kluane, Nahanni, and Gwaii Haanas. As of 2005, feasibility studies have been undertaken for establishing further national parks in four areas: Wolf Lake in Yukon, South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen in British Columbia, Manitoba Lowlands (north-western Lake Winnipeg) and Mealy Mountains in Labrador.

National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs) are a relatively new addition to the park system. These areas have a different mandate than their terrestrial counterparts. They are designed for sustainable use, although they usually also contain areas designed to protect ecological integrity. Canada's three NMCAs are found in Ontario (Fathom Five and Lake Superior) and Quebec (Saguenay-St. Lawrence).



  • 1885 - Banff National Park established, Canada's first National Park. Originally this park was called Banff Hot Springs Reserve, and later the Rocky Mountains National Park.
  • 1908–1912 - Four national parks established in Alberta and Saskatchewan with a mission akin to national wildlife refuges. All would be abolished by 1947 once their goals were achieved.
  • 1911 - Dominion Parks Branch created, the world's first national park service. Resided in the Dept. of the Interior.
  • 1930 - Canada's parliament passes the first National Parks Act. which was an act ensuring the respect of national parks.
  • 1930 - Transfer of resources agreement signed.
  • 1979 - National parks policy is revised to make preserving ecological integrity the priority in Canadian Parks, ending the so-called dual-mandate with recreational uses.
  • 1984 - First National Park established through a land claim agreement
  • 1988 - National Parks Act amended formalizing the principle of ecological integrity in the park system.
  • 1989 - The Endangered Spaces campaign is launched by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and World Wildlife Canada to encourage the completion of the national parks system. The goal of the campaign is to have parks and protected areas which represent each of the country's approximately 350 natural regions.

Adding to the System


National Parks & National Park Reserves

Land in four areas has been withdrawn for future national parks:

Parks Canada is considering another four areas for future national parks[1]:

NMCA & NMCA Reserves

In addition, the park service is pursuing creation of Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, in the B.C. waters surrounding the existing National Park Reserve.[3] Local information sessions were held in early 2007, and consultation with stakeholders (commercial fishers, tour companies, the Haida, and local residents) is to begin later in the year.[4] The area would become the only NMCA Reserve, and presumably be managed as if it were a full NMCA, pending local marine/land claims.

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area is the first of five NMCAs across Canada to be announced[5]. The Southern Strait of Georgia, in the B.C. waters surrounding the existing Gulf Islands NPR, is being proposed as an NMCA Reserve, like Gwaii Haanas.[6]

National Landmarks

In addition to national parks, a National Landmarks program was foreseen in the 1970s and 1980s, but has not yet been established beyond a single property. Landmarks were intended to protect specific natural features considered "outstanding, exceptional, unique, or rare to this country. These natural features would typically be isolated entities and of scientific interest."[7]

To date, only one landmark has been established—Pingo National Landmark—in the Northwest Territories. Another was proposed at the same time (1984)—Nelson Head National Landmark—on the southern tip of Banks Island, also in the NWT. It was to include some 70 square miles (180 km2), 25 miles (40 km) of coastline, and protect the sea cliffs at Nelson Head and Cape Lambton. Durham Heights were to be included, which reach an elevation of 2,450 feet (747 m). The legislation providing for the Landmark required a formal request be made by the Minister of the Environment within 10 years (until 1994).[8] None was ever made.


See also

External links


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