A report from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is slamming Parks Canada for focusing too much on tourism and not enough on conservation.
It could lead to further destruction of our wildlife, CPAWS national executive director Éric Hébert-Daly explained.
“We’ve seen a dramatic shift in how Parks Canada is managing our parks over the past decade,” Hébert-Daly said in an email to Global news.
The report says developments like a bike path in Jasper or an expansion of the Lake Louise ski resort, are damaging legally protected wilderness.
It also says that, in response to budget cuts, Parks Canada slashed the conservation and science side in 2012, while double the dollar amount went to tourism and development.
“As of 2015/16, only 13 per cent of Parks Canada’s spending on national parks was dedicated to conservation,” he said
Last July, CPAWS released a report documenting a troubling shift in how Parks Canada is managing our national parks, away from nature conservation and towards marketing, tourism and infrastructure development. The report documented significant cuts to Parks Canada’s conservation capacity, shifting program objectives, and a major decline in public participation opportunities as being particularly problematic. This contradicts the Agency’s legal requirement to focus on maintaining and restoring healthy ecosystems as the first priority in all aspects of park management.
“We have a responsibility to pass these special places on unimpaired to future generations of Canadians. Unless there is a shift in focus within Parks Canada, this legacy is at risk,” said Hébert-Daly.
The federal government has committed to limit development in national parks, re-invest in science-based management of our parks, and restore more open, transparent decision-making. They have also committed to expanding our national parks and other protected areas.
“We have seen some early encouraging signs, like the halt to the Mother Canada statue in Cape Breton, and the launch of this public consultation. But there is much more that needs to be done to implement these commitments to protect park wildlife and ecosystems, as well as to expand the system of parks and marine conservation areas,” said Hébert-Daly